Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Libraries to become Children’s University ‘Learning Destinations’

The Reading Agency’s “Summer Reading Challenge”, which was taken up by over three quarters of a million children last year, is to become a Children’s University nationally validated learning activity.  This means that this Summer for the first time all libraries in the British Isles which take part in the Challenge will become recognised Children’s University ‘Learning Destinations’.

In addition to earning stickers and medals children taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge who have Children’s University ‘Passports To Learning’ will be able to get their passports stamped at their local library and earn up to six hours of Children’s University learning if they complete the Challenge. They will be able to earn a further four hours if they complete additional activities organised by local libraries.

Last year, 780,000 children aged 4-11 took up the Summer Reading Challenge, making it the most successful scheme of its kind in Great Britain. This year, the Summer Reading Challenge has also been selected to be part of the London 2012 Festival, the 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 as the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad.

Students aged 5-14 years can enrol in the Children’s University through their school and are issued with a ‘Passport To Learning’, in which they log the number of hours they spend on validated activities. 
  They are encouraged to work their way through Bronze, Silver and Gold certificate schemes.  Currently over 2,900 schools and academies participate in the Children’s University and there are over 1,800 public ‘Learning Destinations’ including museums and galleries as well as “BBC Visitor Centres”, “Nature Detective Trail”, “Masterchef”, “Museum Club” and “Junior Journalists”.

Children’s University Validators assure the quality of each ‘Learning Destination’ using the Children’s University’s own framework ‘Planning for Learning’ developed with Professor John MacBeath of the University of Cambridge.

Anne Sarrag, Director of The Summer Reading Challenge at The Reading Agency, announced the partnership saying; “It’s fantastic that the Children’s University are making the Summer Reading Challenge one of their activities. This will help us to promote the Summer Reading Challenge to more children, parents and teachers.

“Our organisations share similar aims in providing high quality out of hours activities to aid a love of learning voluntarily.”
Ger Graus, Chief Executive of the Children’s University says: “The Summer Reading Challenge opens up a whole new world for children, a world of creativity and curiosity, fuelling their imagination and helping them to develop in a literary and creative sense. This partnership enables children to be fulfilled during the summer, bridging the gap between school terms and helping them to achieve their personal goals as they work towards their certificates.”

The Summer Reading Challenge launches in libraries in Scotland at the end of June and on 14 July in Libraries in England, Wales and the Isle of Man. Throughout the regions, libraries will be linking the Challenge in with events in local arts venues and museums.

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