News and events

News and events

Children’s University School Holiday Parent and Student Workshop: STEM Robot Engineering

In the April school holidays members of the Children’s University Charles Darwin program and their families were invited to partake in a robot engineering workshop.

Students and their family members spent two hours working through a series of progressively more difficult challenges, allowing them to experience engineering problem solving mindsets.

Lego EV3 Mindstorm robots were used to program travel and loop command functionality, and the workshop culminated in a robot sumo battle!

Children’s University members earned two hours in their Passport to Learning to count towards their graduation in a formal ceremony at CDU at the end of the year.

If you are interested in learning more about the Children’s University program at CDU or becoming involved, please contact childrensuniversity@cdu.edu.au

First Children’s Uni at CDU Day for the year - 13 February 2019

Almost 100 students had fun learning about Aboriginal culture, geology, singing, aquaculture and nursing at the first Children's University Charles Darwin Day for 2019 held in February.

Students from Ludmilla, Millner, and Manunda Terrace Primary Schools attended the day which aimed to open the door to tertiary education for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous primary aged kids in Darwin.

The Children’s Uni program works towards establishing curiosity and interest in education, by providing experiential learning, a diverse range of activities away from the standard classroom teaching model and cultural activities.

CUCD’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Engagement and Success Professor Phillip Seltsikas said the day enables children to discover the fun and interesting factors within education and know that university education is well within their reach.

“Our Children’s University initiative is carefully designed to stimulate the aspirations of our children, to plant the seeds of higher and further education in their minds, and to demystify the concept of university from an early age,” Professor Seltsikas said.

CUCD coordinator, Virginia Spicer-Harden, said creating the relationship between university and students at a young age enables children to become familiar with the opportunities university offers them.

“It is really important that as part of the Children’s University program children get to experience campus culture and to understand what a university looks and feels like. By bringing students onto the Charles Darwin campus they get to experience this, as well as forming an understanding of the diversity of things that can be studied at university and what careers and futures these can lead to. We want kids walking away with a really positive experience, and to know that studying at university, at home in the NT with Charles Darwin, is a real possibility for them,” Spicer-Harden said.

Student attendance is an issue for schools in the NT and CUCD Community day aims to improve this by engaging students with various forms and types of education.

“The kids in the Children’s University program are strong, bright kids. I think a program such as this, which values experiential learning outside the classroom, can have a really positive impact on students who might struggle with the traditional school curriculum. The program provides a broad scope for children to be successful, which in turn can make them feel more positive about school and the education system.”

Ms Spicer-Harden said the day encourages students to try a diverse range of activities.

“The Children’s University program is designed to be inclusive, so we are mindful to include a diverse range of workshops to connect with kids of all cultural backgrounds. This said, it is a priority for us to connect in a culturally relevant way with Indigenous students and to demonstrate to them that there are culturally-safe spaces for them on campus, which provide specific support for Indigenous students.”

The event also aims to influence participating students’ opinions and decisions regarding education.

“Bringing students onto the CDU campus and giving them a positive experience of higher education can be a powerful way to change their thinking around their future,” Spicer-Harden said.

Primary schools and organisations interested in the CUCD program are encouraged to apply.


CDU’s youngest alumni graduate – September 6 2018

Children uni

A group of youngsters graduated from Children’s University Charles Darwin making them the first Territory alumni of the program.

Students from Driver, Manunda Terrace and Ludmilla primary schools participated in the Charles Darwin University pilot program that fosters and rewards the love of learning.

Children’s University Charles Darwin Program Coordinator Virginia Spicer-Harden said the program encouraged future participation in higher education with children aged seven to 14.

“This program encourages students to get out and learn new things, and promotes the idea the learning happens all the time,” Ms Spicer-Harden said. “It’s all about the children having fun, while they are learning outside of the classroom.

“The children have visited our aquaculture centre to meet the turtles, have had a virtual reality experience and visited places like Parliament House.”

Pro Vice Chancellor Student Engagement & Success Philip Seltsikas said the voluntary program was delivered in partnership with schools, parents and a range of Learning Destinations in Darwin and Palmerston.

“Our Children’s University exemplifies CDU’s commitment to developing young minds and stimulating our community’s passion for education,” Professor Seltsikas said.

The Children’s University, owned globally by the Children’s University Trust, was established in the UK in the early 1990s. The Children’s University Australia was launched in 2013 at the University of Adelaide.

Learning Destination providers involved in the program include City of Darwin Libraries, Palmerston Library, Crocodylus Park, The Royal Flying Doctors, Bombing of Darwin, Darwin Languages Centre, Darwin Military Museum, and the Museum and Art Gallery NT,

Local primary schools and organisations interested in participating in the program are encouraged to apply. For more information visit W: cdu.edu.au/childrens-university or email childrensuniversity@cdu.edu.au

Event Video


Animal encounter for Children’s University CDU Students

Child holding tawny frog mouthLudmilla and Manunda Terrace Primary School students this week got up close and personal with native Australian animals.

Students were able to touch and learn about a variety of animals including baby sugar gliders, magpie geese, snakes, lizards and a Tawny Frogmouth as part of their membership with Children’s University Charles Darwin.

As well as being able to hold the animals, students learnt about their threatened habitats and what they can do to help conserve the environment.

The learning at this event will be entered in student’s Passport to Learning and contribute towards the learning hours necessary to graduate from the inaugural CU Charles Darwin Graduation on 6 September.

The CU Charles Darwin team look forward to welcoming these students and their families to the CDU campus to celebrate their achievements!


Children’s University Charles Darwin Students Visit University For The Day

children uni visit

Charles Darwin University extended a warm welcome to the students of the future!

Students from Ludmilla, Driver and Manunda Terrace Primary Schools came to University for the day on 14 February.

The students participating in ‘Children’s University Charles Darwin’ had a taste of university life, when they visited Charles Darwin University on 14 February 2018. Starting with a visit to CDU’s Aqua Culture Centre, where they met the turtles and fed the Barra, the children then participated in an exciting Virtual Reality Experience. Not forgetting the February ‘online activity’, where the children made some fantastic Valentine’s Day cards. Following an action-packed morning at university, students then visited Crocodylus Park, where they enjoyed a ‘Croc Cruise’, attended a very informative the Crocodile Feeding session, and met the reptiles.

The feedback from the day was excellent, ‘the children had a blast’, ‘they came back full of excitement about everything they had learnt, and asking even more questions about university’, and ‘this was the best day ever’ – being a few of the comments that were shared with the team. Children’s University (CU) Charles Darwin is being taken forward as an innovative pilot program which allows students aged 7-12 initially from Ludmilla, Driver and Manunda Terrace Schools to participate in extra-curricular learning activities. The CU Charles Darwin Team are delighted to be working with these schools, all of which have excellent leadership teams who are really committed to ensuring that their students achieve the best possible learning outcomes from the program.


Botanic Gardens holiday event

Childrens Uni meets local wildlife

The Children’s University attended a school holiday event on 5 October, at the Botanic Gardens – which provided an ideal opportunity to promote the initiative to children, parents and community organisations. Our first partner schools, Driver Primary School and Ludmilla Primary School are now operational, providing their students the opportunity to start using their ‘passport to learning’. We are continuing to work with the other ‘pilot schools’ to ensure that the program is implemented in a way that works for them.


CU Charles Darwin holds their first event

CDU Campus

Children’s University Charles Darwin held their first event on 20 July. Professor Martin Carroll, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Success, welcomed 20 organisations to an information session for prospective Learning Destinations.

Providers heard about Children’s University (CU) Charles Darwin, an innovative pilot program which enables students aged 7-14, initially from eight schools in Darwin and Palmerston, to participate in extra-curricular learning activities. The program is designed to develop confidence and aspiration in children outside school hours by accessing a variety of extra learning opportunities at local Learning Destination providers. Providers talked about how they could work together as a network of high quality, accredited Learning Destinations that can provide superior learning opportunities to school children.

Learning Destinations in Darwin & Palmerston will provide a diverse range of learning opportunities from science discovery activities, to dance sessions, arts and crafts through to wildlife trails. All activities will be registered on the Children’s University Australia Website, where children can learn more about the opportunities available, choose their activity, and design their learning program.

Following the formal presentations, providers networked and had the opportunity to talk about how they could work with CU Charles Darwin to make this exciting initiative a reality here in the Northern Territory.


Children's University

CU Charles Darwin Logo