The following are reflections on the successful GrandFriends partnership between Champlain Child Development Centre and The Royal Arch Masonic Home.
What Our Champlain Child Development Centre says:
- As a way to network in our community and bridge the gap between generations, Anna approached the Royal Arch Masonic Home about setting up visits. It reminded all of our team about how when we were young, we did visits to a neighbouring senior home with school. We recall this time fondly and wanted to offer the opportunity to the children enrolled. There is so much research about bridging generation gaps and the benefits. There is an opportunity for each group to learn from the other. It offers a warmth and sharing time that may not be available because of how each generation changes and moves as time passes. Many families move away and separate by choice or by circumstance leaving gaps between generations. Choosing to spend this quality time together gives our preschoolers and the seniors opportunities they may not experience otherwise. We are grateful to the team at RAMH for taking a chance on us and keeping this growing!
- Twice a month, a small group of children walk to a neighbourhood retirement home to spend time with some of the seniors at Royal Arch Masonic Home. During each visit a music teacher leads the children and residents, whom we refer to as GrandFriends, in a variety of songs and interactive activities. Sometimes we spend time doing crafts, giving us a little takeaway project to share with our families and friends.The group is able to bring these new songs, musical games and art ideas back to Champlain for sharing with teachers and other children at group time. Our group gets very excited and enjoy telling everyone about the decorations they see along the corridor of the home, and about the fish in the aquarium. On special occasions, like Halloween, we extend our costume parade to include a visit to our GrandFriends.
It sure does make them smile! What started as a small interaction, nearly two years ago, has grown to a wonderful addition in the lives of both the young and old.
What The Royal Arch Masonic Home says:
Children from the Champlain Child Development Centre have been visiting Royal Arch Masonic Home (RAMH) twice per month since May 2018. During their visits the RAMH Music Therapist assists seniors and children to make beautiful music together.
The Director of Recreation Services at RAMH states:
- “There are so many benefits to connecting these generations. This partnership promotes feelings of community, nurture, purpose, and fun in both the senior and the children. It’s a win-win!”
- “Seeing the children often prompts the seniors to reminisce about special children who were in their lives.”
- “The seniors light up when they see the children.”