Sunderland university graduates are getting younger

Three-year-olds graduate at Sunderland University's St Marys Childcare Centre.
Three-year-olds graduate at Sunderland University's St Marys Childcare Centre.
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University graduates are getting younger all the time.

The latest group of children to graduate from the University of Sunderland are just three.

Three-year-olds graduate at Sunderland University's St Marys Childcare Centre.

Three-year-olds graduate at Sunderland University's St Marys Childcare Centre.

The city’s university set some of its youngest students off on their educational journey during a special graduation ceremony held for the 10th year running.

Children as young as three-years-old graduated at St Mary’s Childcare Centre annual ceremony in front of their proud parents, where each child donned a traditional cap and gown.

During the graduation the children sang songs and showcased some of the skills they had learned during their time at the nursery, including learning Spanish, French, and English.

They were then presented with a certificate and a cuddly bear.

The ceremony is a positive change which means the children are growing up and moving on

Susan Walker

The nursery, based on the University of Sunderland’s City Campus, is a popular facility for students and staff.

Children, all aged three to four, will now go on to their selected primary schools in September.

Head of Business Support Services at the university, Paula Bass, presented graduation certificates to the children.

Susan Walker, Childcare Centre Manager, said: “Our children and staff have been planning the graduation ceremony for the last month during activity time within the nursery.

“Staff have brought in photographs of themselves graduating and have explained that the ceremony is a positive change which means the children are growing up and moving on.”

St Mary’s Childcare centre opened in 1990 and works with parents to provide high-quality education and care. They provide childcare from birth to 12 years of age, with the aim of improving the lives of those who work and study at the University of Sunderland, and the lives of their children.

University of Sunderland Vice Chancellor Shirley Atkinson who presides over all of the university graduations and recognises the importance of the centre for helping students, staff, and the children, said: “The University of Sunderland provides life-changing opportunities, irrespective of age. St Mary’s has given the children a great start in education and we hope to see them again as they cross the stage in the future.”