“The university is a school for young adults who like learning and don’t want to finish their education on a high school level.
The first Polish city to change this commonly accepted view was Krakow, where children were invited to university classes. Warsaw followed in Krakow’s footsteps.
On Nov. 17 the inaugural lecture for Children’s University took place. Prof. Stanislaw Bajtlik, distinguished Polish astrophysicist, talked about astronomy to the young people in the old building of Warsaw University’s library.
A monthly series of Saturday lectures, linked to workshops, will begin in January.
The interest in the project has overgrown its initiators’ expectations. At the moment the organizers cannot register any more children.
But anyone who would like to become a Children’s University student is invited to visit the university’s web site (ud.edu.pl) this month.
University classes for children have been successfully operating in Europe and elsewhere in the world for at least five years.
The first such children’s university is believed to have originated in Tybinga, Germany. Similar educational centers are located in Vienna (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia), Birmingham (UK) and California (U.S.), as well as in the Canary Islands and Colombia. Everywhere the classes are gathering a multitude of little listeners.
Children’s University in Warsaw was created by the Paideia Foundation, which sponsors creative activities in culture and education.
The foundation is a non-governmental organization and doesn’t use public funds.
The university project’s initiators introduced fees for the children’s lectures, but the fees aren’t mandatory and are viewed as a charitable gift to the university. Tuition for a single class is 10 zloty; for the entire semester, 100 zloty.
Children’s University’s lecturers are research workers and educators, who normally teach and lead scientific research. Children will also be able to listen to the university’s guests lecturers in such fields as science and art.
In order to participate in the lectures and workshops, registration is required, as the number of places is limited. Kids aged 7 to 12 can become Children’s University students.
No prior knowledge in a specific field is required.
The most important factors are a child’s interest in the subject and an ability to spend about 60 minutes in the lecture hall.