Year 3 kids find their way to higher education

4 May 2012

Students from 13 primary schools got their first taste of university life at the day.
Students from 13 primary schools got their first taste of university life at the day.

Almost 700 students aged eight and nine got their first hands-on experience of life on campus this week at the Year 3 Introduction to University Day, part of the University of Sydney's Compass 'Find your way to higher education' program.

The students from 13 partner primary schools participated in a huge variety of more than 30 fun workshops from all areas of the University.

The children examined animal skulls with Faculty of Veterinary Science, discovered how to distinguish emotions by reading expressions with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, created exquisite monsters, self portraits and masks withSydney College of the Arts, and explored coral with the Macleay Museum as part of the current exhibition Coral: Art Science Life.

They also built free-standing structures out of spaghetti and string with the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, learned children's songs from around the world with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and discovered the University's collection of rare comic strips with the library.

Year 3 Introduction to University Day is held annually by the University's Compass program, which works with partner schools to support and encourage primary and secondary school students from low socio-economic backgrounds to participate in higher education.

"The aim of the day is to introduce the children to the idea of higher education and some of the exciting things they can learn about at university," says Annette Cairnduff, Director of Social Inclusion at the University of Sydney.

"Research tells us that children have clear ideas about themselves as learners and their future education from late primary school. For most of the kids the day is their first interaction with a university. Through the Compass program these kids will continue to have contact with a university throughout their schooling.

"Compass program activities, both on campus and in schools, aim to raise awareness and understanding about higher education while at the same time supporting academic outcomes."

More than 16,000 students, their parents and teachers have participated in Compass activities and programs since the project launched in 2009 as a joint initiative of the University, the NSW Department of Education and Training, and selected primary and secondary schools in Sydney.

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