Ballina children keeping in touch with their elderly friends
The children at Goodstart Ballina and the residents of RSL Lifecare and Florence Prince Garden have become the best of friends.
The centre had planned an intergenerational program with local aged care facilities, where they would visit so the youngest and eldest in our community could spend valuable time with one another.
Research has proven the postive benefits of intergenerational programs for children and the elderly generation including learning, pro-social behaviour and a sense of purpose.
“Connections whether it be to family, friends or community play a pivotal role in shaping the way children view the world and noticing there was some opportunity to make this a bigger part of our service is where the plan began to develop. “
“We wanted to plan visits and have the residents come visit us too, but then everything changed with COVID-19 and we realised that would not be possible for quite some time, and for us that didn’t sit right.” Said Jessica Grissell, Centre Director of Goodstart Early Learning Ballina. “With visits and physical interaction being out of the question the next best way to communicate and share joy is through video and art so we thought we would start here.”
The children at the centre said the best part was when the residents began sending artwork in return that they have now displayed in their centre. “I liked it when we got pictures back, I like the peacock.” Said Phoebe, a child at the centre, and “I love making my friends happy” Said Sophie.
“I enjoy helping the children to understand that even the smallest gesture can mean so much to another human being. I’m so lucky to work in a field where laughter and fun fill so much of my day and if we can share even just a tiny piece of that with someone who needs it then I think that’s our duty to do so.” Said Centre Director Jess Grissell.
The centre plans to visit the Aged Care facilities as soon as restrictions are lifted and join the residents in their Art Therapy program.