Intergenerational Activities & Yew Tree Nursery
The Yew Tree Nursery are one of 10 settings across Somerset developing a new project that see's their children take part in physical activity sessions with residents living in local care homes. The project is a hybrid version of the very successful 'Golden Age Olympics', a functional chair-based fitness project. Golden Age Olympics is already working across Somerset in residential care homes, nursing homes, dementia care homes and sheltered accommodation. The intergenerational version of the project includes the young children and allows them to take part in the activities developing their personal, physical, social and emotional skills.
After SASP sent a request for help from EYFS settings to pilot the intergenerational project the Yew Tree Nursery in Yeovil stepped forward. The nursery already had a strong link with their local care home however, the nursery wanted to build on this relationship and the prospect of learning some new activities along the way that would benefit both the residents and children was an exciting one.
"I hoped the project would support the issues the elderly may face of loneliness and lack of social interaction. Children have buckets of energy and happiness and I hoped combining these would bring a positive uplift for the elderly on a regular basis" - Chelsea Wollard, Yew Tree Nursery.
The benefits of this project are similar for both residents and children, for example the opportunity to build relationships helps to support emotional and social skills. While the physical activities are low in intensity, they still provide an excellent opportunity to develop key physical skills for both sets of participants; larger gross motor skills such as core strength and shoulder stability are both key to improving some of the fine motor skills such as finger dexterity that are key to both residents and children. During the sessions the participants take part in a number of activities such as:
- Athletics – Focusing on hand to eye coordination, number and colour recognition
- Marathon – Gross motor skills
- Gymnastics – Shoulder stability to support fine motor skills
- Orienteering – Fine motor skills, finger dexterity and sorting objects
- Team challenges – Social skills
Step 3 - Sustainability
As the sessions develop Chelsea (Yew Tree Nursery) has already shown willingness to continue to lead the sessions after observing SASP deliver the sessions. SASP will continue to stay in touch and provide an equipment bag with everything needed for the sessions to run far into the future ensuring the residents and children continue to reap the rewards.
"Children are full of love, happiness, energy and wonder and to be able to share this with the elderly is a truly enlightening experience for all... My best moment was seeing a lady called Dorothy who is 100 have such energy and competitiveness during activities, it's amazing." - Chelsea Wollard, Yew Tree Nursery