At last some imaginative ideas about involving older people with young children. From Wales where else!
In Gwynedd, North Wales, four day centres for older people have invited in some nursery school children, with some very positive experiences for both the children and the older generation.
- The childrens’ confidence and understanding increased;
- An elderly stroke sufferer’s speech improved;
- An 82 year old lady with dementia had singing lessons with a toddler and then spoke more lucidly afterwards;
- Another octogenarian lady who was blind, taught a four year old to make jam tarts.
The experience ended with a sports day where the older residents and the young children teamed up to compete in races and other events. Concerns about frailty and the childrens’ lack of confidence all went out of the window. Better to focus on fun than frailty.
The project is being studied by researchers at Bangor University.
As I was writing this blog, there were two programmes on Channel 4 which documented the experience of a nursery school group of children visiting St Monica’s Trust Retirement Home. They followed a similar path to the residents in Wales with equally encouraging results.
This sounds like two good news stories, with benefits all round. If repeated across the country it could provide better support for nursery schools and build a positive bridge between generations.