When we were younger many small children saw older adults or seniors as someone that may be unfriendly or scary. On the other hand some of us as young children had the opportunity to have a bond with our grandparents or older neighbors, making the idea of older seniors not scary or part of a normalcy. With our society the way it is today, many children don’t have access to a grandparent. That is where Woodstone Senior Living came up with the idea to partner up with Kings Kids Preschool located right next door. There are many times that the preschool have come over for different activities and events that Woodstone has put on. Each time the children walk through the door, the residents eyes light up with excitement, not to mention the smiles on everyone’s face, is priceless.
Our Community Life Coordinator Erika Smith, who also has experience with childcare, thought there was something missing with the day to day experiences and activities for the residents of Woodstone. “How could we integrate the school setting and nursing home setting into an environment where both children and nursing home residents can benefit from each other” said Erika. These were all questions that we asked our self as we moved along in the planning process.
Erika shared with her team, “Could this be an opportunity to provide both of these generations the opportunity to come together and share their knowledge and their time in a way that these kids and elders may not get otherwise?” As we approached the topic with the teachers of Kings Kids Preschool, they not only loved the idea immediately but wanted to start as soon as they could. There it was set, twice a month the 5’s classroom from Kings Kids would venture over to Woodstone for an afternoon of learning, socializing and experiences that may shape some of these children the rest of their lives. “I have always envisioned working for a Senior Community that would allow a program such as this to happen, the resident’s just love children,” stated Janna Bjur, RN of Woodstone.
On Thursday January 7, 2016 our first classroom came to life and it was a wonderful experience to see. By bringing the seniors and children together, we only hope it gives our residents a renewed sense of purpose, a sense of value and a role again in our society. As the teachers and staff at Woodstone watched the magic unfold as resident and students read story books together and then moved on to talking about colors and coloring a few pictures, the same thought came about. This is giving these children the opportunity to develop not only academically, but it’s amazing to see the social development that occurs when the children are interacting with the seniors.
Stay tuned to what our inter-generational classroom will be up to next.