Recently on the blog we shared a story about Joe, Logan and Caiden, participants in an intergenerational project between Hewitt’s Creek Public School Kindergarten classes and the Barrington Retirement Residence. The response to that post, and to a story on CTV Barrie, has been overwhelmingly positive.
Bringing our youngest students together with elders in our communities benefits everyone. Our staff see a change in student behaviour and confidence. We’ve also been privileged to hear feedback from people who interact and work with the residents of the Barrington Retirement Residence.
Bonnie Forgrave is the daughter of one of the residents who participated in the program. She’s seen the positive effect it’s had on her mother, and wrote us a letter to express her thoughts.
My mom is a resident there, often referred to by the students as Gramma Mae. She is 94 years old and has a mild form of dementia which affects her social skills. It has taken us years to get the reactions from her that the Kindergarten students manage to bring out in the first five minutes every Wednesday.
Gramma Mae and the other elders, as the students call them, have a positive impact on the students, too.
The children are like little sponges and are learning so much. The children are not just socializing; they are using their math skills, spelling, reading and creativity while having fun and bringing life into the seniors’ lives. Interacting with older adults enables the students to develop communication skills, problem-solving abilities, positive attitudes towards ageing, a sense of purpose and community service.
Forgrave sums up her thoughts with the following, which we believe says it all.
I have had the pleasure of observing other residents interacting as well. I have seen residents who normally barely speak smiling and interacting with the students. The bonds being formed are amazing. To say all of their faces ‘light up like a Christmas tree’ would be an understatement.
I cannot say enough about how much this program benefits both the children and the residents. The intergenerational connection is magical. In a world of easy isolation we can all use a little magic.