Alexander Park Elementary School has started a special program this year to bring together different generations.
Intergenerational Classroom Play brings kindergarten students, and residents at Mountain View Assisted Living together once a week.
“This is the first year I’ve done it… It’s been done in Invermere before,” said kindergarten teacher Sandra Beckett. “The kids really enjoy it. It’s been really good for both groups. It’s been one of the nicest things I’ve done in many years of teaching.”
Every Wednesday afternoon the students make their way over to Mountain View, either on foot in warmer weather, or on the bus. They come inside and take off their coats and boots in the special room that Mountain View has now put aside for them. Then they go into the common room and find their friends.
“We will often do celebrations. We had Santa come at Christmas time, and we had a Halloween party where we dressed up. We also do things like colouring, puzzles, and if we’re doing an activity at the school we’ll bring it here,” said Beckett.
“The residents really seem to look forward to it every week as well. We have regulars that are here every week, when we arrive they’re sitting here waiting.”
When the program began in the fall, the students had to learn that behaviour that is acceptable at home and at school may not be appropriate at Mountain View.
“We really talked about how your behaviour has to be different here than at school. There were a couple issues there early on, but we worked through it. The kids are quite respectful when they come in,” said Beckett.
In a town the size of Golden, it is no surprise that some of the residents and students are related. There is one great grandfather, great grandson pairing, and next year one of the resident’s granddaughters will be in kindergarten, so Beckett is making sure she will be in that class.
Both the school and Mountain View are enthusiastic about keeping the program going next year.
“I give lots of credit to the staff here at Mountain View… They’ve really put the extra effort into this program,” said Beckett.