The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES KITTO

AN EARLY learn­ing ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram is en­sur­ing kids out­side the class­room get ac­cess to greater ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties.

Launched in 2015, the Chil­dren’s Univer­sity Tas­ma­nia pro­gram fo­cuses on ex­pand­ing the con­cept of work and learn­ing to in­clude ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties for young learners.

The pro­gram was broad­ened to reach the Der­went Val­ley and Cen­tral High­lands schools in June, and now of­fers home­schooled kids the chance to par­tic­i­pate.

Stu­dents in­volved in the pro­gram earn a stamp in their Pass­port to Learn­ing for ev­ery hour of vol­un­tary ac­tiv­i­ties they do, which can in­clude ev­ery­thing from danc­ing to model build­ing.

At the end of the year, they grad­u­ate from the Chil­dren’s Univer­sity with an award based on the num­ber of hours they have com­pleted, lead­ing the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia Town and Gown pro­ces­sions as part of the cel­e­bra­tions.

Si­enna and Olive Jenk­ins are among the first home­e­d­u­cated par­tic­i­pants to join the pro­gram, and their mother Re­becca said the pro­gram, op­er­ated by the Peter Un­der­wood Cen­tre, would com­ple­ment her fam­ily’s ap­proach to learn­ing.

“The philoso­phies of Chil­dren’s Univer­sity fit re­ally well with those of home ed­u­ca­tion,” Mrs Jenk­ins said. “The girls are re­ally ex­cited by the idea.”

The pi­lot pro­gram will rolled out to Der­went Val­ley and Cen­tral High­lands home­schooled chil­dren in a 12month trial and, if suc­cess­ful, could be of­fered to home­e­d­u­cated kids in other parts of the state.

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