Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future. ~ Margaret Mead
Unlike previous generations, extended families are more often living apart. Families have lost their natural intergenerational composition and all the benefits that go with it. As an age-segregated society, there can be few opportunities for interactions between generations. This is particularly true of children and the very old.
Just look into the face of one of our in-house grandmas or grandpas, and it is apparent the difference that it makes being in the company of a Magnolia Blossom Preschool child. We know inherently that the children benefit, as well. We have research now that backs this up:
Preschool children involved in intergenerational programs had higher personal/social developmental scores (by 11 months) than preschool children involved in non-intergenerational programs.
Children who regularly participate with older adults in a shared site program at a nursing home have enhanced perceptions of older adults, persons with disabilities and nursing homes in general.*
At Magnolia Blossom Preschool the children interact with the grandmas and grandpas on a regular basis. We sing together. We recite nursery rhymes together. We do crafts together, and tell stories together. We celebrate together. We also have our own separate spaces because this is important, too.
Wherever there are beginners and experts, old and young, there is some kind of learning going on, some kind of teaching.We are all pupils and we are all teachers. ~ Gilbert Highet
*from Intergenerational Shared Sites: Making the Case, published by Generations United.