From the moment we enter the Childcare Centre, we're grouped by age. But there are numerous benefits to connecting older and younger generations with one another.
The intergenerational programs are “relationship based,". The same adults and children work together on a regular basis over an extended period of time.
The children and residents have so many similar needs at this age: their fine motor skills need improving, their vision and so much more. The whole philosophy is respecting the individual and following their needs. It's all about being purposeful and not just playing silly games.
Seniors can be very dependent on others but when they interact with the children, they get that adult role back, they feel needed, and have the opportunity to teach and instruct.
Research shows that in centres and schools where older adults were a regular fixture, children had improved literacy compared to other children.
Intergenerational programs enable children to develop social networks, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, a positive attitude toward ageing, a sense of purpose and community service.
Children and youth involved in intergenerational mentoring programs over extended periods of time are likely to be more successful in their adult life. Furthermore, children and youth gain positive role models with whom they can interact on a regular basis.
As the current situation doesn’t allow us to interact and meet the members of the 3Bridges Community, we have continued to engage in discussions with the children about what we have done so far with them. We look at photos and come up with new ideas on experiences we would like to engage in together when Covid-19 social distancing is over.
Children mentioned gardening, playing hide and seek, dancing classes, playing soccer, story times, excursions to the beach and the playground.
As the children have already made some art works for the IBIS Aged Care and we received a great response, we have decided to make more Art pieces for our 3Bridges friends. One of the teachers dropped the gift bag off on Tuesday 26 May 2020. Narani children and teachers hope that the gifts will bring a smile to the members’ faces and that they know we miss and care about them.
Here are some things the children said when we asked what message we could pass on to the members:
‘I love you’
‘Smile on your face’
‘We miss you’
‘I love playing with you’
‘See you soon’
‘I give you a card’
‘I made you painting’.