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Extending learning beyond the classroom - Sacred Heart Ulverstone & The Children's University

In early December, almost 70 students from Sacred Heart Catholic School Ulverstone took the stage at the Burnie Arts and Function Centre in cap and gown to graduate from Tasmania’s Children’s University!

If you’re wondering how they got here before even graduating from primary school, we can explain:

Through Children’s University Australasia and their Peter Underwood Centre, UTAS partners with schools to help encourage children to build their love of learning beyond the classroom.

This year is the first time that students and staff from Sacred Heart have participated in the Children’s University program. “We had an overwhelmingly positive response to this program and student enthusiasm has ensured that the program will be sustainable moving forward,” noted Tamika Peebles, Sacred Heart’s Social Worker. 

Each member of the Children’s University is equipped with a Passport to Learning where they can keep track of their learning activities and experiences throughout the year. Catholic Education Tasmania was pleased to support students in receiving their passports, alongside generous contributions from local politicians and community groups.  

My favourite activity that I got to put in my passport was going to the Beaconsfield Mine. We did a tour of the mine and I liked the part where they told us how they found the gold. I enjoyed the scavenger hunt and the information on how they rescued the miners when they got stuck.” - Maddie (Grade 2).

Research has shown that participation in a range of extra-curricular learning enhances students’ academic achievements and increases their drive to engage with educational experiences.

Children’s University encourages students to go beyond the classroom and engage in activities that help develop relationships as well as shape possible future interests and endeavours. 

To support students in achieving their 30 hours, staff from Sacred Heart facilitated a range of lunchtime activities throughout the year that remained accessible to all students in the school. These included book clubs, drama clubs, outdoor activities, a Pokemon club and even a chance to create sock puppets.

One eager student has collated 232 hours of learning activities and experiences in their Learning passport!

Students, families and teachers were pleased to see such great adoption of the program in the school’s first year of involvement. “The benefits that a program such as Children’s University offers to promote a spirit of lifelong learning is fantastic for us as Primary School,” said Sacred Heart Deputy Principal Nic Saltmarsh. “Student wellbeing is a major focus for us here at Sacred Heart Ulverstone and our ability to provide opportunities such as Children’s University is another vehicle to promote confidence, resilience and persistence.”

A final congratulations to the students from Sacred Heart and huge thanks to staff and families for their ongoing support.