Intergenerational working

Earlier in the month as part of a whirlwind three State visit to the US we visited one of three  Intergenerational Schools in Cleveland, Ohio. This model of education has two distinct programmes to promote learning and working between the older and younger generations. The first is a ‘buddy reading’ system where older people living in the community come into the school to read with pupils. Every pupil receives 2 x 20 minute sessions with an older person per week to enhance their reading skills. A second programme involves every class in the school visiting one of thirty-one care facilities (day care and long stay care) in the area once a month where pupils work with older people on a range of projects. The image attached is one art project  where pupils visited the care home and worked with people with dementia residing in one of Clevelands premier care facilities, Judson to create these banners that hang in the entrance to the care facility. These two initiatives demonstrate the possibilities for learning and working together in meaningful ways benefitting both older adults and school children. We have been experimenting with intergenerational working here at Bournemouth via a Tech Group facilitated at The Bourne Academy where school pupils have welcomed people with dementia and their carers into their schools to work together in an after school club where they have been learning to play on the wii, xbox and ipads together. This way of working offers opportunities to educate younger generations about dementia and to combat associated stigma, ignorance and fear of what it might mean to live with dementia. To paraphrase some of the words of the School Principle in Cleveland, who I found truly inspirational, the younger we start to educate our children about life and the challenges it can throw at us the better prepared they will be to contribute as active citizens in our society.