EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.
In the latest of series, we feature Windsor Place Age to Age Learning, based in Iola, Kansas.
Windsor Place is a skilled nursing center in Iola. They are unique in that they have not only older people there, but they also have an "age to age" program with the Iola school system, which results in a pre-school classroom in the building. The kids and the elders have so much fun together!
In addtion, they offer a "Home Again" wing for short term Medicare people needing therapy and are planning to go back to their home in the community. In addition, they have a wellness center for the community to come in and use.
The Iola school district chose to place their preschool at Windsor Place in 2010, and after one full year, the whole community is chalking it up as a success! This is a legacy that began with an idea and grew to fruition in Iola. The facility is excited to be able to host a classroom and continue the fight against loneliness, helplessness and boredom for the elderly, as well as provide an unique education to each of the children.
This "age to age" classroom is organized where children are partnered at various points throughout the day with the elders (also called "grandmas" or "grandpas") to read, exercise and learn valuable lessons that only the elders can provide.
The grandmas and grandpas are always excited about meeting the children as they come in the first thing in the morning. The staff is excited to see the residents much more intereseted in getting up and getting their day started all because "It's a school day!"
The grandmas and grandpas also have the luxury throughout the day of getting to watch the preschoolers at work in the classroom by way of a large glass viewing window.
These pictures were taken the first day of school and meeting the new grandmas/grandpas was a whole new experience for the preschoolers. By the end of the year, last year's preschoolers didn't want to leave, and the grandmas and grandpas were equally sad. This
is just the second "age to age" classroom in Kansas and visitors are welcome to come into Windsor Place and peer through the large classroom window, or maybe, you will be there at the right time to see the grandmas and grandpas actually engaging with the preschoolers.
There are two groups of preschoolers:
You can visit at these times as the children have eaten and are ready to learn.
Ooen Monday-Friday 8:30a.m-11:15a.m.;12:30p.m.-2:45p.m.
Either way, it is an exploration you will get a kick out of! Call ahead or consult the front desk for a visit.
Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? You can also post them to ourIntergenerational Connections Facebook Group or just text us through the FacebookMessenger app (friend me to join our Cool Intergenerational Ideas group discussion). We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.