Investing in Intergenerational Relationships

Investing in Intergenerational Relationships

May 24, 2016
By
Susan Hutchison, Director, Crofton House Junior School

It’s a beautiful morning in May at Crofton House School. Something special is about to happen! Tables are prepared with tea, coffee, lemonade, and delicious treats, and adorned with centrepieces of hydrangea and white linen tablecloths. Junior School students are hosting their grandparents for tea and a concert. Parent volunteers set everything in place for a unique school experience. There is a subtle transformation in the atmosphere of the school as the grandparents arrive. Children move more calmly; they are holding hands with their special guests. You can see the joy on the faces of everyone!
 
Each and every experience for young students at Crofton House School is planned with an intentional purpose related to learning and the development of the whole child. Arranging a dedicated day for the old and the young to share experiences is an important aspect of student growth. When children host their grandparents at school, they have an uninterrupted opportunity to talk about their world. Grandparents can provide a level of unconditional and non-judgmental love that is fundamental to the growth of self-esteem in children. With the busy, scheduled life of children, grandparents appreciate the opportunity to enjoy a few focused hours with their grandchild.
 
Educators realize that these intergenerational relationships are an important investment in the overall well-being of children.
• Children develop greater confidence when they spend time with older adults
• Older adults share personal stories enhancing a sense of identity and family history in children
• Shared stories transmit culture and values
• Children who experience intergenerational opportunities have fewer stereotypes about older adults
• Connections with different generations establish a more complex worldview with the ability to perceive diverse perspectives
• Time spent in intergenerational experiences encourages a slower pace and fosters patience in children
• Children who experience intergenerational opportunities have fewer stereotypes about older adults
• Relationships with caring, older adults help to cultivate stronger empathy and sensitivity in children 
 

As the morning festivities close, students tour their grandparents through the school sharing their favourite places for play, quiet corners in the learning commons where they read, and their desk and locker, along with introductions to their teachers. So much to talk about when they are together again outside of school!