Kindergarten in the Retirement Home

Family GeekMom
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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3 thoughts on “Kindergarten in the Retirement Home

  1. My son goes to a daycare that’s part of a retirement community, and my daughter had gone there for 5 years as well. It’s amazing. What started as a service for the workers grew to include the community, and wonderful intergenerational programs like art and music are part of my son’s daily life. Plus, there are bonus features like a backup generator and a rec hall to run around in on cold winter days.

  2. To extrapolate on an idea suggested: My MIL lives in a nursing home and we take our daughters very regularly to visit her and to participate in regular events for residents and families. One of the things my husband and I noticed was that our girls were among the very few little ones that seemed to come around on a semi-regular basis. To that end, I have worked with my older one’s Brownie troop leader to bring troop activities into the nursing home as much as practicality allows. Some of the girls are a bit scared at first, having never been in that environment before, but they eventually warm up to the residents. The memories that are made and the lessons learned are simply priceless.

  3. I have always LOVED this idea, and always wondered why it was not embraced more often. I’ve worked in day care centers and in nursing homes, and know that both demographics could benefit greatly from being intertwined.
    It’s such a win-win for everyone, I don’t understand why more organizations don’t do it. It’s only list of things to do once I win the lottery and I’m looking for investment opportunities!


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