Friday, July 27, 2012

Good bye to our young friends

At my facility we are lucky to have a wonderful day care center less than a block away. For several years, we have teamed up with the pre-K class for intergenerational visits.  Because the daycare works on a school type schedule, the same children remain in the classes from September to August each year.  This year the Pre-K class was able to visit us every two weeks.  With the same children coming to visit each time, we have been able to watch them grow, and to watch the relationships between our seniors and the children grow and bloom as well.   We have watched their hesitation and fear of the elderly and visiting a nursing home, melt away.  After only a couple of visits, the kids realize the residents here are just older people who happen to need a wheelchair, and visiting a nursing home can be fun.  Each time they come to visit us, the children run to their special older friends.  They all have certain residents that they have bonded with and look forward to seeing each time they come. 
The teacher and I take turns deciding on what projects the group will be doing each week.  We have done everything from rock painting for the garden, to show and tell, with both children and seniors showing and sharing their treasured items.  (This event was especially popular).  Next week is our last visit as the children in this class will be moving off to kindergarten.  We are planning a good bye picnic with the senior and children sharing a meal in the garden (decorated with beautiful rocks).   It will be bittersweet to say good bye to this group of kids.  They have won a special place in the hearts of many seniors.  Several of the children have asked me if they could come visit after their class is done.  What a wonderful testament to the bond they have formed with their older friends! 

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