Preschool Students and Seniors Share Special Friendship
St Louis Community Preschool
“Preschool students and the elderly benefit greatly from interacting with one another,” explained Alura Nash, St. Louis Community Preschool Lead Teacher. “We call our senior friends “grandpas” and “grandmas”. Some of our children have grandmas and grandpas who actually live at Arbor Grove, but for those who don’t have a “real” grandpa or grandma living there, or close by, our visits give all the children a chance to interact with our special grandpas and grandmas.”
“Our grandpas and grandmas get very excited when we visit them. During our visits to Arbor Grove, the children color, make art projects and talk to the residents about what they are doing, what they like to do at home, and about school. This past Valentine’s Day the children brought a smile to the faces of many, when they presented the grandpas and grandmas with pretty valentines made especially for them. Several commented on their valentines… ‘I haven't had valentines in years!’… ‘This is the most valentines I've ever gotten.’…’I'm going to hang them up in my room.’…. They love it when the children create things for them and our children love giving them their art work,” commented Nash.
WMFC Shepherd Community Preschool
“This fall, with the help of CMU students who were doing a multi-generational study and documenting the interactions of seniors and young children, the WMFC Shepherd Community Preschool Students made monthly visits to the Stone Lodge Supportive Senior Living in Shepherd, “shared Lead GSRP Teachers Molly Stroh and Jenni Brookens.
During our visits, the students and seniors spent time together playing games, reading stories and doing small motor activities such as making string necklaces with cereal. These activities help those of both generations, build and use their fine motor skills.
“The children love visiting the seniors and always look forward to their return visits. Their favorite activities include playing noodle balloon toss and making candy/cereal necklaces,” shared Stroh.
“The visits are so beneficial for both the seniors and the preschoolers. The time they spend gives both generations an opportunity to interact, enjoy fun activities together and laugh with one another,” explained Brookens. “Some of our children don’t have grandparents or great-grandparents living close to them, and many of the seniors don’t get to see family members very often. Our visits gives both generations the opportunity to interact and enjoy each other’s company on a regular basis.”
“One of the ladies at Stone Lodge expresses to us each visit how much she loves to see the kids and how her grandchildren are so far away,” explained Stroh. “She always tells us how much joy it gives her to have the little ones around.”
Bullock Creek Community Preschool
“I think visiting Pine Crest Farms is a great experience for everyone involved,” commented Amber Huber, Bullock Creek Community Preschool Lead Teacher. “Yes, it can be a bit stressful to plan activities and clean them up, but after everything is said and done, all the effort and planning is always well worth it because everyone always has a wonderful time.”
“Not too many people or family come to visit the residents at Pine Crest Farms so they always look forward to our visits,” explained Huber. “Many times the residents are waiting for us at the end of the very long driveway or they are waiting at the door to greet us. They look forward to the activities that we do together and the time that we share.”
“The preschoolers and the residents enjoy many of the same activities. They sing songs, dance and move to music, work together on arts and crafts projects and even decorate cookies at times. It's wonderful to see so many smiling faces as we watch the relationships develop and grow between the young and old,” commented Huber. “My preschoolers look forward to their visits to see their "grandma" or "grandpa" friend and I believe it's the same for the residents.”