With social distancing at the forefront of how we live, work and engage in the community right now, Koala Childcare are doing their best to connect children with the residents from their local nursing and aged care facility….at a distance.
As an extension of their Post Office area in the Kinder Room, Educators have encouraged children to send hand-written letters and pictures in an effort to put a smile on someone’s face and to show community spirit and compassion at a time when people might be feeling lonely and isolated.
As you know, older Australians have been strongly encouraged to stay at home at this time and many are having reduced or no contact from family and friends. While we should never assume how they feel and what their needs might be, it can be helpful to ask if there is anything you can do for them.
The Australian Psychological Society suggests some helpful strategies including:
While there have been many learning outcomes for the children in the Kinder Room throughout this socially distanced exercise, there are so many benefits in physically connecting young children with older people. Australian studies have shown that activities that include children and older adults in a day care or aged care facility can increase self-esteem and promote friendships. In Japan, shared play activities have been found to result in greater smiles and more conversation for elders.
In this day and age, many families are separated by distance, time and lack of understanding between generations, but programs and activities that bring children and older adults together could change the whole of society’s outlook. Story House is always looking for opportunities to make meaningful connections with the broader community and this is a terrific example.
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