Residents from Zetland Court in Bournemouth, have enjoyed a lively visit to Busy Bodies pre-school, marking two years of their successful intergenerational partnership.
Staff at the Home and at the pre-school agree that the benefits to both the residents and the children of their weekly meet ups have been extraordinary.
Residents and children have great fun choosing art and crafts activities to do together, as well as reading picture books and playing games. At the end of the sessions, everyone sings along to nursery rhymes and plays musical instruments.
They take it in turns to visit each other and also get together for celebrations at Christmas and for treats such as a Punch and Judy Show last year.
Research has shown that for older people, engaging in meaningful activities with young children can help to increase wellbeing, reduce loneliness and depression. The benefits for young children are also increasingly being recognised. Childcare providers report increased confidence and less anxiety and better communication skills.
Karen Casey, Activities Coordinator at Zetland Court, said: “Our residents absolutely love it when the children at Busy Bodies come to visit and when we go to see them. It really lifts their spirits. The energy they bring has a wonderful effect on our residents and the children really enjoy it too.
“Our partnership with Busy Bodies means such a lot to us, it’s a wonderful coming together of older and much younger generations which benefits everyone involved.”
With more families living further apart geographically these days, it’s especially important to help ensure that our youngest generations have contact with much older people. It also thought that introducing intergenerational interaction at an early age helps shape more positive attitudes toward ageing and older people, among children, their parents and families.
Sue Fallon, Manager of Busy Bodies pre-school, said: “The benefits to our children of our partnership with Zetland Court are huge. It has helped build the children’s confidence, independence, compassion and their understanding of the wider community.”
“There have been so many highlights. For example, one little boy, said “I’m going to find a granddad today and he homed in on one gentleman resident. They developed a lovely friendship and it was just so meaningful for both of them.
Another time, one little girl, who had been quite shy, sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow” for the residents. One by one, they joined in and it was absolutely magical! The effect on the little girl’s confidence afterwards was phenomenal and I can honestly say that it was the best moment of my 28 year career in childcare.”