Children’s University inspires adventurous Jai to reach for the stars

For Jai Childs Children’s University Tasmania has been a passport to adventure.

Jai, a Year 5 student at Rosetta Primary School, joined the program only in late July but will be among the 173 graduates who will have the honour of leading the University of Tasmania Town and Gown through the streets of Hobart today (Wednesday, 19 December).

Jai’s resolve to accumulate enough hours of learning outside school hours to graduate, and his dad Michael’s shared interest in science, particularly astronomy, has led to some significant intrastate travel for the pair.

“We went to TastroFest [Tasmania’s Astronomy Festival],” Michael said. “That was a long drive up to Ulverstone and back, and the next day we went to the University Open Day in Hobart.”

The following weekend father and son hit the road again to visit the Queen Victoria Museum and the Planetarium in Launceston.

“We have put in plenty of miles and plenty of hours in the car together, but it has been really good,” Michael said.

“Jai has got a telescope that my friend gave to him, and we have had that out and been looking at Jupiter and the moons around it, and the International Space Station.”

As a result of his involvement in Children’s University Tasmania, Jai also attended the Scouts Tasmania Open Day and has now joined the movement.

“We went camping at The Lea, have learned how to tie knots and how to use a pocketknife,” he enthused.

Children’s University Tasmania was launched in Tasmania in July 2015 through the Peter Underwood Centre at the University of Tasmania.

The program is now working with 32 schools statewide and has more than 750 active participants.

Graduation ceremonies were held in Burnie and Launceston last week, and a total of 335 members will graduate in 2018.

The program helps to develop children into adaptable, lifelong learners and builds bridges to employment and higher education by connecting them to a diverse range of learning experiences outside of school hours.

Each member is issued with a Passport to Learning in which the hours of activity at validated Learning Destinations are recorded.

Peter Underwood Centre Deputy Director Dr Becky Shelley said it was so exciting that Jai was exploring new passions through his involvement in the program.

“It is also great that his dad is sharing that learning journey with him,” Dr Shelley said.

Children’s University Tasmania graduands will lead the Town and Gown from 2:15 pm, ahead of their graduation ceremony at the Hotel Grand Chancellor from 3 pm.

The other participating schools today are Austins Ferry Primary, Bagdad Primary, Bothwell District, Bowen Road Primary, Brighton Primary, Collinsvale Primary, Fairview Primary, Glenora District, JRLF East Derwent Primary, JRLF Gagebrook Primary, JRLF Herdsman’s Cove Primary, Kempton Primary, New Norfolk Primary, Rokeby Primary, Westerway Primary and Windermere Primary.

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