A six month local research project started in Glades Bay Gardens last Thursday. It aimed to connect the wisest and youngest generations of North Sydney.
The program involved The Children’s House of Montessori in East Ryde and residents of Twilight Aged Care. The initiative was designed to bridge the social gap between the old and young.
Intergenerational programs bring diverse groups together and unite communities by building relationships and sharing knowledge. This specific project focuses on the benefits of an Intergenerational program using Montessori principles within an aged care setting. It pairs up seniors and children for creative activities to open conversation and learn new skills together.
Denise Underwood, the principal of The Children’s House of Montessori, said that the program gives the children experience outside of an excursion format and allows them to genuinely interact with the community.
A report from Generations United described the far-reaching benefits of these programs in their studies in America. Their research showed how engagement of the children and seniors benefits communities as a whole.
Intergenerational Programs are able to unite diverse groups of people and build social understanding. They provide role models and positive interactions while breaking down negative, generational stereotypes.
The children visiting delighted everyone living at Twilight. They loved the energy that they brought to the day. Dorothy, a resident at Glades Bay Gardens, said that the children were “absolutely wonderful”.
Interacting with children encourages those older to be more active and cognitively alert; improving heart rate and mental health.
Julianne Walker, the volunteer and project coordinator behind the enterprise, was excited about the project. She said that the program has just began, but response from the children and those at Twilight are overwhelmingly positive. The program has 1-2 hours of group interaction per week with a different theme, until its conclusion in mid-September. She looks forward to seeing how the program and relationships will evolve in the coming months.