Year 3 Introduction to Uni Day - Biggest ever Compass event

3 May 2012

From the perspective of a nine-year-old, the Quadrangle is Harry Potter's Hogwarts Castle, so it was appropriate that flying toys and alchemy were on the agenda. Faculty staff and students from across the University of Sydney gathered on the front lawns of the Quadrangle yesterday to produce the Compass - Find your way to higher education program's biggest and best Year 3 Introduction to University Day. This year Compass welcomed new partners Villawood East PS and Fairfield PS to the almost 700 curious, smiling, energetic Year 3 students from its 13 partner primary schools who spent the day touring, talking, and testing in the first of many experiences at the University.

The aim of the day is to build a pathway towards higher education: "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 will be their first interaction with a university. Through the Compass program these kids will continue to have contact with a university throughout their schooling." says Annette Cairnduff, Director Social Inclusion at the University.

The campus visit was the main part of a three-phase program for the young students, who will be visited in their classrooms in the coming weeks by Compass volunteers. A mini-graduation ceremony, complete with caps and gowns, is the culminating activity in a lesson where students are given the opportunity to reflect positively on their experience and highlight the possibilities of higher education.

As University of Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Derrick Armstrong points out, the Compass programs activities are also an opportunity for faculty members to see the impact that outreach at the University of Sydney makes. "At the University of Sydney we have learnt a great deal about ourselves and the communities we work with through our engagement in the Compass program." The faculties made the most of this opportunity with their engaging sessions.

In the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies' 'Super Balls' tent, vinegar and latex were turned into bouncy souvenirs, while rockets flew with the Education and Social Work Faculty's Flying Toys demonstration. At 'Macleay Museum Under the Sea', students created coral reef models, which will be added to the ongoing Coral: Art Science Life exhibition. After a brief experience of life under two different systems of law - dictatorship and democracy - students got loud with the Conservatorium of Music and 'Songs in the Rhythm of Life'. While the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions works within a broad and historical perspective, researchers made the concepts accessible for the young audience in an interactive examination of different facial expressions. Architecture, Design and Planning's Marshmallow and Spaghetti construction challenge remains a perennial favourite, while Sydney College of the Arts' Hot Glass Sculpting was a new activity that looks set to become a classic.

The Compass program's sustainability and its future effectiveness are the result of collaborative networks in and around the University. These relationships are essential not only to the University's social inclusion aims, but to social inclusion overall.

Congratulations and thanks to the staff and students who hosted activities and supported the day:

  • ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
  • Conservatorium of Music
  • Co-op Bookshop
  • Faculty of Agriculture and Environment
  • Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning
  • Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Veterinary Science
  • Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness
  • Sydney University Museums
  • Sydney College of the Arts
  • School of Physics, Faculty of Science
  • University Library

Special thanks go to the Office of the Yeoman Bedell and Campus Security.

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.

Visit our website for a full list of partner schools and programs.