Reflections on Volunteering: Classroom Facilitators help Year 3 students to 'Discover Uni'

20 June 2014

Compass volunteers with students

With the Year 3 'Discover Uni' Day extended engagement program drawing to a close, the Compass 2014 Classroom Activity Facilitator (CAF) volunteer program continues to provide opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships.

The program offers Year 3 students from Compass partner schools an opportunity to experience university and learn about the range of future study options available through a three phase engagement program. The first phase is the provision of suggested learning activities facilitated by school teachers prior to a University visit. The second phase is the Year 3 'Discover Uni' visit and this is then reinforced by Compass Classroom Activity Facilitators (CAF) during a follow up visit to their schools.

This year, 21 University student CAF volunteers supported Compass to deliver 19 'Discover Uni' Post Visit Lessons to more than 580 Year 3 students at 11 Primary schools across Sydney. We asked some of our volunteers about their CAF volunteering experience and this is what they said.

Compass volunteers with students
  • "What an experience it was, walking into a room of 30 or so 8-year-olds who were excited to see the people in the yellow shirts again! Initially, it can be quite confronting to walk into a new classroom with so many unknowns.
    "However, once you start to ask the kids questions about their visit to university, the lesson just flows. I was so encouraged by how eager the kids were to know about higher education and how passionate they were about the goals and ambitions they have for their futures."
    - Emily Murray, Bachelor of Science
  • "This was a great new opportunity to challenge and further myself. At times the students asked slightly tricky questions, forcing me to think on my feet - an important skill for any university student to develop.
    "My interactions with the kids were really positive, as they were quite enthusiastic and playful. Garnering their attention was not too difficult owing to the varied activities such as direct questioning, lining-up games and drawing competition.
    "I thought the content was quite age-appropriate and a helpful introduction to university. They learned new things and got a different perspective from each facilitator. The laid-back style of the session allowed the kids to open up and share their thoughts regarding their recent trip to the university."
    - Shano Bakhtiar, Bachelor of Psychology
  • "For me, I always wondered to what extent introducing primary school students to university life could actually help shape their future pathways. But from the first CAF presentation I delivered, I realised that it makes all the difference in the world and the Year 3 Discover [Uni] Day was no different.
    "When you take an active interest in the lives of these young students, when you, as a University student, a world apart from them, come into their classroom to talk to them about all the fun they had undertaking their experiments and making the buildings of the future as they competed in The Great Spaghetti and Marshmallow Challenge, you realise that what is often perceived as childish earnestness is in fact the sincerity of a future scholar, one whose exposure to the possibilities presented by university life has made these very real possibilities for their own future.
    "The laughs, the smiles, the endless barrage of fervent questions that simply tumble from their excited faces are what make for all the reward in the world as a volunteer. To know that going to university is a real conversation that these students will have, that such a future now exists for them - made possible through copious quantities of spaghetti, marshmallows and slime - makes you realise that the Year 3 Discover [Uni] Day is not just one day, it's a prospective lifetime of knowledge."
    - Nick Fahy, Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Arts
Compass volunteers with students

Compass would like to thank all the CAF volunteers and school teachers and leadership teams for their support in ensuring this unique opportunity is of real value to students.

To learn more about Compass volunteering please visit the Volunteer page. To learn more about Compass Discover Program for Primary school please visit the Discover page.