Children’s University grows thanks to $50,000 boost

Children’s University Canterbury Partnership (CUCP) programme is expanding to include hundreds more young learners thanks to Rātā Foundation and Riccarton Rotary Youth Trust donations of $25,000 each.

  • CUCPgrad2019
    Children wait to cross the stage to receive their Children’s University certificates in 2019’s inaugural graduation ceremony. The Children’s University Canterbury Partnership programme is the first of its kind in New Zealand and is delivered by the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University.

Children’s University Canterbury Partnership (CUCP) programme is expanding to include hundreds more young learners thanks to Rātā Foundation and Riccarton Rotary Youth Trust donations of $25,000 each.

As a result of this $50,000 boost, CUCP is adding several new schools to the Children’s University network, issuing more than 600 tamariki with a ‘Passport to Learning’. This represents tremendous growth from CUCP’s commencement in 2019 when 192 children participated in the pilot programme.

The first Children’s University in Aotearoa New Zealand, CUCP is a joint initiative between the University of Canterbury (UC) and Lincoln University. This funding will allow more tamariki, particularly from disadvantaged communities, to discover fun and engaging learning opportunities outside of the classroom. It will change the lives of hundreds of children, showing them and their family and whanāu that learning can happen anywhere and spark new interests that can change the trajectory of a child’s life. The grant funds will be used to grow the programme sustainably throughout the region.

One of the ways the programme is showing children the path to higher learning is by hosting university campus experiences where they have the opportunity to learn from UC academics, says UC Assistant Vice-Chancellor Professor Catherine Moran.

“This programme, which is helping tamariki fall in love with learning, shows them that their future is bright. These children could be UC students on our campus in 4 to 11 years’ time,” Professor Moran says. “Passions they spark now could inspire them to pursue higher education and, using the knowledge they gain at UC, their ability to make a difference in their community and in the greater Aotearoa community is amplified.”

“The Riccarton Rotary Youth Trust is proud to be supporting the Children’s University Canterbury Partnership, which is encouraging young people to discover their full potential,” says Murray Compton, Chair of the Riccarton Rotary Youth Trust. “We’re thrilled to help the programme grow to over 600 participating students in 2020 and we look forward to seeing its impact in our community.”

“This programme really encourages children to try new things in a safe to fail environment. It’s not about being the best, it’s about broadening horizons by trying lots of different activities,” says Leighton Evans, Chief Executive, Rātā Foundation. “One of Rātā’s funding priorities under our Learn focus area is to connect families, whānau and communities to children’s learning and schools. The fact that parents join their children on this journey, taking on an active role in their children’s education out of the school environment really met that priority for us.”

CUCP began in Canterbury in 2019, with 192 children from seven schools and one rūnanga. Most schools involved were lower decile schools and 42% of the cohort identified as Māori. Over 80% of the children reached the minimum number of 30 hours required to graduate, and many children surpassed this goal, reaching over 100 hours of extra-curricular learning.

With over 90 Learning Destinations across Canterbury, tamariki use their bicultural ‘Passports to Learning’ to try new things and discover new interests that inspire them to pursue further education, gaining new skills and confidence along the way to building a better future for New Zealand.  The University of Canterbury and Lincoln University provide significant ongoing funding to the CUCP programme.