Wednesday 3 February 2016

Are your youngsters interested in singing, acting, dancing, arts and crafts or simply playing Netball, Football, Tag Ruby or even Rock Climbing? Perhaps it’s time to put the tablets away, grab a jacket and get out into the great Sheffield outdoors?

The Sheffield Children’s University February Freebie is back with more FREE adventurous and creative activities on offer during the half-term holidays, which run from Monday 8 February to Saturday 13 February.

Sheffield 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 the 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 eight years and it’s something we’re incredibly proud of. This year’s ‘freebie’ is packed with over 40 exciting activities that will interest all children, whether they like sports, arts and crafts, dance, drama or being creative and 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. It’s a great experience once you become a member of the Sheffield Children’s University; I would absolutely recommend it to any parents and carers out there whose children aren’t already involved. Go along this February half term and have some fun, not only will you have a great time, it’s also free.”

This year’s activities will begin on Monday 8 February with 10 different events to choose from, including a Family Woodland Day at Upper Wincobank Chapel where families can participate in games and activities in the woods. You can also learn how to create a gallery and display objects by creating 3D models at Weston Park Museum or attend the Themed Street Dance workshop at Park Library, Duke Street.

Activities will continue on Tuesday 9 February where budding actors and actresses can take part in Noodle Performance Arts, a fun and lively introduction to drama at Greenhill Library, Hemper Lane.

Pop along to the Winter Gardens on Wednesday 10 February and help Sheffield CU decorate their little elephant ready for the Herd of Sheffield trail around the city. ‘Elephants never forget’ so children of all ages can test their memory and other skills with Imagination Gaming’s fabulous range of games.

The avid climbers can visit Awesome Walls, Garter Street on Thursday 11 February for the ‘School of Rock’ event. No experience is necessary for this indoor rock climbing event, suitable for 6-16 year olds.

At Forge Valley School, 3-9 year olds can participate in TagRugby and Football between 10-12pm whilst the 3-7 year olds can learn the skills of Netball.

Friday 12 February allows the animal lovers to explore Heeley City Farm. Learn how to keep and care for goats, including feeding, grooming and goat walking. If goats aren’t your choice, Chapeltown Library is hosting a themed street dance workshop from 2:30-4:00pm.

The Sheffield Children’s University events will conclude on Saturday 13 February at Totley Library with ‘Ignite Imaginations’. This is a chance for 7-19 year olds to decorate a ceramic tile telling the story of their life.

Helen Green, whose Razzamataz performance club will be offering singing, drama and acting activities on Thursday 11 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 brilliant and they felt like they had really achieved something.”

Since the Sheffield Children’s University began, 30,033 children and young people have taken part – earning more than 1.6 million credits so far.

There are 68 schools subscribed to the initiative and 170 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.