Back when our ancestors lived in tribes, and entire villages raised children, it was common for elders to socialize with youngsters. Our social norm in the United States today is generally one of isolating the elderly, confining many of them to living situations often devoid of much physical human contact and lacking in participatory activities that evoke joy. The following video shows a wonderful social experiment -- The Intergenerational Learning Center in Seattle, WA -- a brilliant solution where shared space provides tremendous social benefit for all people involved.
An excerpt from their website follows. This model is truly golden.
The ILC offers children opportunities to:
- Learn about the normal aging process
- Accept people with disabilities
- Be involved with people who are two or three generations apart
- Become part of an extended family
- Help them reduce their fear of older adults
- Receive and give unconditional and unbounded love and attention
In addition, residents and program participants benefit from:
- Frequent interaction with children throughout their day;
- Physical activity in playing with the children;
- Opportunities to play, laugh and enjoy the spirit and joy that children bring to their home environment;
- A renewed sense of self-worth;
- An opportunity to transfer knowledge; and
- The ability to serve as role models.
Our Curriculum is Based on Problem-Solving:
In a problem-solving atmosphere, children are encouraged to think of solutions to problems that arise throughout their day, with their teachers acting as facilitators and guides. When children are learning that they are capable of solving problems, the teacher is neither permissive nor authoritarian. Children are trusted and encouraged by teachers to resolve problems that may occur in their environment, with materials and in their relationships. In addition, the children must take responsibility for their actions.