Intergenerational activities benefit all involved. The youngsters learn about the American culture from seasoned, patient adults, and the residents feel pride and a sense of purpose for helping the younger folks. Classrooms and youth groups regularly visit our communities where young people and residents complete activities together. Here are three examples of our intergenerational programming.
Newcomer Group – Dodge City
Second graders from Central Elementary School visit Manor of the Plains in Dodge City, Kansas every month to make new friends and new memories. What makes this group so special? They are children of first-generation American citizens.
“The Newcomer students always look forward to spending time with their friends at Manor of the Plains,” said Cheryl Koontz, teacher for the Newcomer group. “They enjoy being around an older generation; I think because most of their families came here from other countries and left their grandparents behind. They don’t have grandparents here.”
From August to May, the group shares activities such as visiting a pumpkin patch, flying kites, making a quilt, and arts-and-crafts projects.
“My Newcomer students benefit greatly from the interaction with their friends at Manor of the Plains. They have a chance to interact with an older generation that they have had to leave behind,” said Koontz. “My students feel loved and accepted by their friends, and I think that helps them feel more connected to our town and country.”
Apple-A-Day Preschool – Newton
The Newton Presbyterian Manor campus is also home to the Apple-A-Day Preschool. With the children and older adults under a common roof, both generations benefit from increased social opportunities and learning from each other.
The preschool uses an age-appropriate curriculum. Children engage in art, music, science observation, choice of centers, children’s literature and structured small group activities. Parents receive monthly newsletters about lesson plans and activities, and ideas that will extend the learning at home. Each class has its own grandparent volunteer. The preschool children have regularly scheduled activities with residents of the manor. The weekly visits/activities are coordinated by the Preschool Director and the Activities Director of the Manor. The preschool classes have opportunities to share with their families during planned program times in the winter and spring.
Vacation Bible School – Salina
Children of Salina Presbyterian Manor employees and residents participate in an annual Vacation Bible School. Each day starts with a Bible lesson followed by singing. A different craft activity is provided daily, including decorating flower pots and visors, making jellybean bracelets, and creating and decorating birdhouses.