Kindergarten in the Retirement Home

Children benefit from a relationship with multiple generations of adults.

Here’s an intriguing idea that could help both the old and the young. Put kindergarten in the retirement home. This article highlights a Canadian school that uses the retirement home as a part-time classroom, and the retirees become volunteer teachers. The benefits come to both the young and the old in this program. The young gain knowledge, and the old gain health.

My kids are fortunate to have grandparents living nearby, but changes in modern lifestyles and culture have changed that for a lot of families. Anthropologists think that grandparents may have played an important role in the evolution of our species by passing information on to the next generations. We’ve also invented the concept of “retirement” fairly recently (You can thank Otto von Bismarck.), and we’re still working out the ramifications of working for most of your life and then being encouraged to not work anymore.  It’s not surprising to find that boredom and depression can be contributing factors toward elderly cognitive and physical health declines.

So, for those that are willing, assuming the role of surrogate grandparent gives retirees a renewed sense of purpose. You could just encourage retirees to volunteer at schools. That would help, but bringing the school to the retirees makes it even easier for those with mobility challenges. I could even see it as a selling point when seeking out a retirement community.

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