Nursery and care home tie-in helps the young and the old

Children from the Newbyres Nursery interact with older adults from Newbyres Care Home.
Children from the Newbyres Nursery interact with older adults from Newbyres Care Home.

A Gorebridge nursery is helping to bridge the generation gap by pairing up the youngest members of the community with the oldest.

Mel Scrimgeour, manager, always had community development in the back of her mind when setting up Newbyres Nursery in May 2016.

Every week two staff members from the nursey take 7 children to the care home.

Every week two staff members from the nursey take 7 children to the care home.

She had a lot of community help with funding and renovation, and decided that her nursery should give something back.

Having read about intergenerational projects in the USA, Mel decided that her nursery pupils should take weekly visits to Newbyres Village care home.

She said: “The friendships that have developed between our children and the older adults at the care home are meaningful and inspirational, and both groups look forward to the visits each week.

“Elderly residents seem to come alive with the breath of fresh air that the children bring.

‘‘Their memory for everyday tasks may be waning, but suddenly they are brought back to the days that they looked after their own small children, reciting nursery rhymes and songs word for word that they may not have recalled for many years.

“They have also built relationships with children and this has helped to tackle issues such as loneliness and vulnerability.”

The projects started in September 2016 , with the age range 3-90. Every week two staff members from the nursery take seven children to the care home, and residents choose whether to take part in the activities, which include indoor sports, baking, crafts and songs.

Mel added: “It was very important that the project was not tokenistic and it was decided that regular meetings would be best rather than meetings and projects purely around holidays.

“Activities which take place support sharing skills, memories and ideas between the different generations. As we play indoor sports together this improves motor skills and turn taking. We are also able to cover many aspects of the curriculum for excellence, and obtain quality observations of the children’s learning and progress from our visits.”

The project is free, with children going on a minibus as part of their nursery day.