Educational Opportunities, UoL staff visit to LUD Łódzki Uniwersytet Dzieciecy (Children University of Łódz

Date: 
December 5, 2013 - December 11, 2013

Hi all,

Paul, Sarah, Blaise and I travelled to Poland Early December 2013 to find out more information about the Children’s University of Lodz at the Polytechnic university. In the short time that we spent there, we attended numerous workshops and lectures, which gave us a great insight into how the Children’s University is run at the university.

We were introduced to Ania, who initially set up the Children’s University 6 years ago and runs the whole programme. She gave us a great insight into the work that she does with the children. We attended lots of workshops such as Organic chemistry laboratory workshop with 16 & 17 year old students. In this session, the students took part in laboratory experiments, where they spent a few hours conducting the experiment. Once they produce results, the students then present their findings to younger students in a future lecture. This not only teaches the younger students about organic chemistry, but builds the confidence and presentation skills of the older students. There were also maths lectures for the older students taking place whilst we were there.

We also watched a Robotics workshop, where students of around ages 13-15 attended. The session included making 3D structures and programming a robot to draw the Children’s university logo. We learned that workshops tend to last around 45 minutes. We were shown the Acoustics sound proof room one day, which is used to measure and identify sound waves. Workshops for children ages 7-11 take place often in there as it is very popular with the children. We similarly observed computer and robotics introductory lectures for children aged between 7 and 11.

lecture with Mirosław Hermaszewski; the only Polish astronaut

We were also very lucky to attend a children’s lecture with Mirosław Hermaszewski, the only Polish astronaut to go into space. The lecture was very well attended with over 200 children in the lecture theatre. Even though the children had to sit through the talk for 45 minutes, the children were very engaged in the lecture, and many had questions for the astronaut at the end of the lecture. Although parents were not allowed to attend the lecture with their child, they were allowed to watch the lecture via transmission in another lecture room. We felt this was an excellent opportunity for the child to feel more independent, but also a chance for the parents to learn something and keep track of what their child is learning also.

These large lectures take place around 5 times per semester, with different guest speakers each time. We learnt that each child that signs up for Children’s university receives their own booklet, which is stamped and signed by lecturers for each session they attend.

Attendees to the African workshopWe also found that student volunteers for the Children’s university do not get paid, however, many workshops are held specifically for the volunteers, to keep up morale and also as a treat for working so hard. We were lucky enough to take part in an African music workshop with the volunteers, were we all took part in African music and dancing.

The rest of our stay in Lodz provided us the opportunity to meet with Ania and exchange information about what work we do in Educational Opportunities, as well as asking further questions about the Children’s university of Lodz. For example, we found that children who sign up for the Children’s university pay a small fee to cover the costs of materials (around £18 per semester for all workshops and lectures. 600 children can sign up each semester and these places are on a first come first serve basis, which are typically filled within 8 minutes. This means that no child is guaranteed a place every year, but demonstrates how popular the programme is in Lodz. We did discover that extra workshops free of charge are provided for children from poor backgrounds.

Overall, the trip was very interesting and enjoyable, and we were very grateful to Ania for organising the visit.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren and Sarah

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