Inspired by Channel 4s ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’, Longacre School in Shamley Green has struck up a similar partnership with some of its own ‘senior’ neighbours.
Elmbridge Village now hosts a weekly lesson for pre-prep students in its main clubhouse.
The two generations come together with school staff delivering a ‘topic’ based lesson which village residents are encouraged to join in as much as they want to, whilst also supporting the children in their learning.
Activities have included making crowns as part of a ‘Kings and Queens’ topic and drawing portraits of each other. Residents also listen to the children read.
Ben Moir, Deputy Head at the school, said: “Research has shown that children who regularly mix with older people see improvements to their language development, reading and social skills. In addition, by playing and reading with children, the elderly are also less likely to suffer loneliness, while the children get more opportunities for one-to-one reading and play time.
“Despite only being in the early stages all involved with the project have been blown away by the impact the relationship has already had. Both residents and children have come away full of smiles and joy, whilst the conversation around the dinner table in the evening has centred on the new friendships created.”
Village Manager Keith Henesey echoes Ben’s words: “It is a really positive relationship with so many benefits for everyone involved. It is a pleasure to host such a fulfilling and rewarding experience and we hope we can develop the relationship further over the coming months.”