Bridging the generation gap through connection and play
They may have been born generations apart, but these new found friends are finding lots of ways to connect and form satisfying and meaningful relationships.
When the children at Goodstart Salisbury North
went to meet the residents at ESTIA Health Nursing Home in Salisbury North they were naturally shy at first, said centre educational leader Tayla Oxenham.
“But eventually they came out of their shell and through regular visits they have learned how to interact and communicate with a generation a lot of them don’t regularly come into contact with, and now they look forward to their visits and look forward to seeing their new friends at the nursing home,” she said.
“A lot of the children at our centre don’t have big extended families and a lot don’t have a close relationship with grandparents, so these visits have enhanced their social connections.”
As part of their commitment to enhancing children’s outcomes
, Goodstart Salisbury North has been focussed on building connections with their community and introducing the children to situations they might not otherwise have exposure to.
“As a centre that is focused on enhancing children’s outcomes and enriching communities, we have a big focus on connecting with our wider community and these visits have become a routine, planned experience for our pre-kindergarten children,” Ms Oxenham said.
During the nursing home play group mornings, the children and residents do activities like puzzles, drawing, craft or bubbles together as they chat and get to know each other, Ms Oxenham said.
“The residents love helping the children and they have told us that they’re very happy when we visit.”
“From our perspective the children absolutely love it and have built some wonderful friendships and look forward to seeing their new friends every visit.”
Since the play group mornings started, Ms Oxenham had added another nursing home to the program so the children alternate their visits between them both.
“Our nursing home play group visits are focussed on our three-year old pre-kindergarten group because it is a great way to get this age group ready for kindy by learning through play, building confidence through social connection and introducing them to new conversations and situations,” Ms Oxenham said.
Many other Goodstart centres including Goodstart Mona Vale
, Goodstart Calamvale
and Goodstart Clayton
have established similar programs to encourage connections through the generations.
An article published by the Council on the Ageing Queensland shows many benefits for children including being exposed to tradition and wisdom, and developing respect and empathy.