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Children's university

Children's University

CDU is proud to be part of the award-winning, Children’s University program

Children's University Charles Darwin works with primary schools and students in the Darwin region to create high-quality, extra-curricular learning experiences.

We partner with local businesses and organisations to create quality assured ‘Learning Destinations’ - places where children can travel with their ‘Passport to Learning’.

The Children's University concept

Children’s University (CU) celebrates learning that sits outside of the classroom and class time. The program aims to create students who are actively and productively involved in their own learning. 

The CU model leverages learning opportunities that sit within businesses, organisations and local education activity providers. CU's learning experiences are designed to have links to university learning and courses. For example:

  • football club = sports engineering
  • wildlife park = veterinary science 
  • museums = anthropology 

Students are also afforded opportunities to work with faculties at the University and often visit our campuses for learning experiences curated by our wonderful staff. These experiences give students a taste of Higher Education and aim to inspire and inform.

Children's University aims to work with students from low ICSEA (Index of Community Socio-educational Advantage) schools and to engage students from diverse backgrounds in order to raise awareness of the wonderful opportunities Higher Education affords.

Through our network of accredited and quality-assured ‘Learning Destinations’, Children’s University students accumulate hours of learning and receive stamps in their ‘Passport to Learning’. At the end of each year, a formal Graduation Ceremony marks achievements and honours the learning of our young scholars.

Children’s University Charles Darwin (CUCD) is a proud member of Children’s University Australasia and one of a handful of universities offering this exciting program. The Children’s University concept began in the UK over 30 years ago and is still active.

Children's university


For children to develop resilience, optimism and confidence, the opportunity for self-directed learning beyond the classroom is key. 

Nurturing successful, independent learners lies at the heart of Children’s University. CUCD fosters wellbeing by promoting open-ended learning, encouraging children to try out new activities, discover new passions, visit new places and, above all, have fun!

Evaluations have demonstrated a positive relationship between Children’s University participation and the development of other qualities including:

Children will:

  • become adaptable learners
  • develop stronger aspirations
  • cultivate confidence to pursue their dreams

Participants have better:

  • school attendance 
  • attainment 
  • achievements in learning at school * 

*Source: ‘Evaluation of the Children’s University 2010 - Third Report’, Professor John MacBeath, University of Cambridge, January 2011 

Benefits for students
  • Extended opportunities to be involved in learning beyond the classroom
  • Discover the benefits of self-directed learning
  • Explore and develop new talents and passions
  • Manage and measure their success
  • Make new friends who have the same/similar interests
  • Celebrate and be awarded for their achievements
  • Develop leadership skills
Benefits for schools
  • Improved student attendance, attainment and achievement
  • Opportunities to add to students’ learning experiences
  • Raise the school profile in the local community
  • Increase the breadth of learning provided
  • Nurture more confident learners
  • Acknowledge learning outside the classroom and its benefits for in-school achievement
  • Build relationships within the school community
  • Supports the General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum
  • Capitalises on existing extra-curricular provision
Benefits for parents
  • Quality assured activities out of school that address the needs of the whole child
  • Opens up opportunities in a range of learning environments
  • Opportunities to celebrate their children’s achievements
  • Opportunities for parental involvement in school activities

Contact us

CU Charles Darwin -

Find out more

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    Get involved

    Whether you're a student, teacher or organisation, there are plenty of ways for you to get involved with Children’s University Charles Darwin.

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    Learning destinations

    Learning destinations are places and organisations to which children can 'travel' with their passport to learning. 

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    Children’s University Graduation celebrates young scholars’ learning milestones

    School children from Northern Territory schools got a taste of university graduation at the Children’s University graduation ceremony at Charles Darwin University (CDU) on November 11.

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