A community outreach program that encouraged Illawarra and South Coast children to engage in more interactive and creative play was held at the Jervis Bay 100th Year of Education in the Territory centenary celebration.
Representatives from UOW’s Early Start Discovery Space, which will open in 2015, set up HMAS Discovery, a child and family-friendly Naval training and research base at the Centenary celebration held on Saturday 1 November.
Project Coordinator at UOW’s Early Start Discovery Space, Mr Adam Selinger, designed the improvised learning experience.
“Our Discovery Space, which is opening next year, has a whole ship to play in – way too big to send out! So we brought the hands-on HMAS Discovery activities with real tools and costume to create genuine investigations and creative learning, all designed to excite imagination and playful discovery in both children and adults.”
In2Uni program set up a simulated archaeological dig at UOW’s Shoalhaven campus.
Hundreds of children from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven attended, donning high visibility vests to excavate buried items, identify and document their finds and participate in discussion around artefacts as evidence for the historical human occupation of a site.
“Everyone loves to dig; and the experience of undergoing a safe and authentic archaeological excavation means everyone can have fun while sneakily learning about history, culture, science and art,” Mr Selinger said.
Dr Irina Verenikina, an educational psychology researcher at UOW’s Early Start Research Institute, said interactive and imaginative play is crucial to a child’s development.
“Creative play, where children can let their imaginations run wild pretending to be a naval captain sailing the seven seas or a relic hunter uncovering hidden treasures, contributes to the development of problem solving skills and thinking of multiple solutions,” she said.
“Not only is it fun for kids, it essential for their development.”
(Source: University of Wollongong)