Friday 13 February 2015

Curious youngsters interested in programming Lego robots, learning to care for chickens and developing their circus skills are being invited to take part in a host of fun-filled Children’s University half-term activities.

The Children’s University February Freebie is back with more than 50 adventurous and creative activities on offer during the half-term holidays, which run from Saturday 15 February to Sunday 22 February.

Sheffield’s Children’s University is part of a national initiative which encourages and celebrates participation in a wide range of learning opportunities outside normal school hours.

Children and young people can collect credits for each activity they take part in and are awarded certificates as part of their Passport to Learning for every 30,60 and 100 hours they achieve. Special award ceremonies are held at Sheffield Town Hall and the city’s universities to inspire youngsters to take part.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council, said: “The Sheffield Children’s University has been running for nine years and it’s something we are incredibly proud of. It’s a really inspiring initiative and with such a packed programme of activities there’s something to interest all children, whether they like arts and crafts, outdoor activities, sports or learning new skills.

“Every hour they spend at ‘university’ is recorded, awarded and celebrated. We know that this has a really positive effect on what the ‘graduates’ go on to achieve in terms of improved attendance and attainment at school.  I would wholeheartedly recommend it to any parents and carers out there whose children aren’t already involved to take their children along to these great events and to learn how exciting being a member of the Children’s University is.”

This year’s activities will begin on Sunday 15 February at Kelham Island Museum, Alma Street, Sheffield, where four to 11-year-olds can learn more about creating hallmarks at an event called ‘Making Your Mark.’

Activities will continue on Monday 16 February at Sheffield College, Granville Road, where youngsters aged seven to 10-years-old can take part in the Lego Innovation Studio, where they can make Lego robots.

Cultured kids can find out what it’s like to be a curator when Weston Park Museum opens its doors for its Young Curator’s day on Monday 16 February. Youngsters can explore the museum at Weston Bank and handle some of the artefacts and objects curators have collected.

On Tuesday 17 February Heeley City Farm will be running a junior chicken keeping course where children aged eight to 16-years-old can get hands-on experience and learn how to care and feed for chickens.

Budding clowns and performers are invited to Manor Library, Ridgeway Road, where Greentop Circus will be encouraging children to try their hand at circus performance skills such as diabolo, juggling and plate spinning.

For youngsters who love the great outdoors, the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust will be running an event called Forest Fun at Greno Woods where five to 19-year-olds can learn about building shelters, knot-craft and how to light fires.

The Sheffield Music Hub will be hosting singing holiday camps on Thursday 19 February and Friday 20 February at Ballifield Primary school in Handsworth where children can learn singing tips and techniques before putting on a performance.

The Children’s University events will conclude on Saturday 28 February with Science Alive! at the Winter Garden in Sheffield city centre. Science students from the University of Sheffield’s Student’s Union will be bringing science to life with a host of interactive activities.

Helen Green, whose Razzamataz performance club will be offering singing, drama and acting activities on 17 February, was introduced to Children’s University by a parent. She said: “Children’s University sounded brilliant, so I got in touch and in no time at all we were signed up and ready to go. It’s all free and easy to do.

“From a business perspective it’s definitely great for me because there are opportunities for me to network and provide something extra for my children. I was at a ceremony when two of my students received gold awards and it was really special. They got to dress up in the gowns, they got a certificate and had their photos taken. It was just brilliant and they felt like they had really achieved something.”

Since the Sheffield Children’s University began 27,254 children and young people have taken part – earning more than 1.3 million credits so far.

There are 66 schools subscribed to the initiative and 122 learning destinations across the city.

To discover the full list of free, exciting activities on offer this February half-term visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/cu, email CU@sheffield.gov.uk or call 0114 2813761. Youngsters need a Passport to Learning to take part which can be purchased from any Sheffield library for £2.