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Businesses in Southbank

05 Feb 2020

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Australian first hits DFO South Wharf

Words by Jack Hayes

Described as Australia’s first “edutainment” theme park, the newly opened Dream City at DFO South Wharf is pushing the conventions of traditional childhood learning.

Dream City takes children aged from three to 16 on an immersive journey where they met with the opportunity to experiment with over 80 careers.

From piloting a simulated flight or producing their own podcast to performing a faux laparoscopy with medical-grade technology, Dream City provides children with a level of learning rarely seen outside university campuses.

According to founder and Dream City visionary, Kajal Pala, her idea started with a research project which she undertook as part of her MBA in 2015.

“What I found during this research was that children around the world, not just in Australia, are not exposed to high-quality, career-specific, learning until a much later age. At Dream City, we are trying to provide this high-quality learning as early as possible,” Ms Pala said.

“All activities are designed by experienced educators to provide quality, hands-on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM) learning.”

Dream City’s team of industry experts includes co-founder Michael Hiscock, performance music and production leader Karen Kim, and executive director and head of strategy Craig Lovett.

Along with her team, Ms Pala worked with principals, professors and other specialist educators, to create a state-of-the-art learning environment, like few others.

Studies into learning habits have shown that the most effective method of teaching is “practice by doing” as 75 per cent of information is retained compared with less than 50 per cent in other methodologies, such as rote learning.

As one-third of all university students either drop out or change courses, Ms Pala hopes Dream City will help open up new career possibilities for young children.

“The brain of a four-year-old is 150 per cent more active than an adult-sized brain,” Ms Pala said.

“We are tapping into a child’s natural desire to create, explore and collaborate, where they have the opportunity to learn about different careers, the inner workings of a city and the concept of managing money, through assuming common professions in a role play setting.”

“Not only are children learning technical skills, but they are also learning soft skills like socialising, co-operating and organising.”

As “one of the most effective ways to learn is by imitation and immersive activities” Dream City has tailor made 35 “pods”, miniature businesses designed for children to develop essential life skills and abilities.

Included in these pods are 18 miniature flight simulators, 24 virtual reality goggles and industry-level news broadcasting, medical and robotics equipment.

Located in the homemaker centre at DFO South Wharf, Dream City open to the general public, as well as schools and kindergartens.

Ticket prices for a two-hour session are $28 for children aged between three and 13 and $11 for a compulsory supervising adult. Tickets are transferable between supervising adults for each individual session. Entry for children under two is free •

For more information:

dreamcity.com.au

 

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