Activate Learning bring care and early years students together for intergenerational project

Date: 09 May 2018

With the growing interest in intergenerational care and learning, Activate Learning colleges Reading College and Banbury and Bicester College have taken it a step further with ‘The Gift’, a project that brings together students of both childcare and health and care to develop joint activities with young and older people from local nurseries and care homes.

The project, which was originally inspired by the television programme ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’, is now benefiting three generations, as well as helping develop the next generation of childcare and care workers to make intergenerational activities part of day to day practice when they start employment.

With funding from Activate Learning’s services to the public department, both colleges developed the project together, and worked closely with Apples and Honey Nightingale care-home nursery in London where they conducted visits and observations with staff and students.

‘The Gift’ is run by students at the colleges, who organise activities for the children and care home residents to take part in while supported and monitored by the college’s experienced teaching staff.

So far, children and residents have enjoyed activities including puzzles and books, making paper plate puppets, handprint painting, and biscuit decorating, as well as sensory activities with play dough. With each session rounded off with a story read by a student, action songs and a goodbye song, the students then stay to enjoy tea and cake with the residents, giving them the opportunity to reflect on the session and discuss memorable moments.

Since the first groups started in January 2018, both colleges have already seen strong relationships develop between residents and the children, with one of the children speaking so much about her ‘new friend’ that the family have since arranged to visit the care home and the resident.

The range of benefits for students on the project has also become evident – through the process of developing stimulating activities, students have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of both generations, and become a part of social integration with different members of their own community.

Learners also benefit from the opportunity to learn both community and industry skills, and in February a group of students were invited to an intergenerational conference at Goldsmiths University, where they presented in front of academics and industry professionals.

Banbury are now hoping to invite more local care homes and nurseries to be involved the project, and are looking to trial sessions where members of the community can attend alongside their children. Reading college also hopes to develop new sessions with primary aged children.

Find out more about the CACHE qualifications currently being studied by learners on the project: