Our Intergenerational Project at Newbyres Nursery, Gorebridge
WE WON!! At the Generations Working Together National Conference on 7th March, it was announced that our project won the award for Established Intergenerational Project. It was lovely to receive this recognition for the effort that we have put into the project, and to meet with so many like-minded people!
- As well as our weekly visits to Newbyres Village Care Home with our Early Learners, we have now developed our project to include our taking our babies along for visits, and we have started a Pen Pal scheme for our school age children.
What is so good about the whole intergenerational project is that its success just comes naturally. In the project, irrespective of whether the residents have grandchildren, the individual and special relationship between the elderly people—residents are in their 80s or 90s; one is a centenarian—and young children just falls into place as naturally as night follows day. The benefits to children and residents are there for all to see. The staff of the care home and the nursery are rewarded for their commitment to the project by the laughter and chatter that fill the room all by themselves.
Christine Grahame, MSP
I, too, commend the valuable partnership between Newbyres Village and Newbyres Nursery and, in particular, the work of Mel Scrimgeour. Although it is still in its infancy, the project is going from strength to strength and all those involved should be immensely proud of their achievements so far. I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting the project, but I whole-heartedly welcome its focus on inclusive, intergenerational practice and the emphasis that it places on developing the positive resources that young and old have to offer one another and those around them. The relationship between a child and a grandparent can be very special, but we know that intergenerational bonds need not be traditional or biological. There are striking similarities between the young and the old, who are at either end of life’s journey. They can live in the moment and focus on the joy of being, instead of clock watching or stressing to fit as much into time as possible. The Newbyres project is about much more than simply having fun and meeting new friends; it is much more than a means of energising young and old for a few hours a week. I believe that the bonds that are forged are deeper, purer and more precious, and that they can deliver lifelong benefits. Research shows that intergenerational contact can help children to develop life skills and build their self-esteem and confidence, and we know how crucial it is to a child’s wellbeing to develop resilience through positive caring role models and a strong sense of community. For those who live in Newbyres Village, interaction with the children could mean the re-emergence of a wonderful memory of their own or their children’s childhood, it might give them a renewed sense of purpose and an opportunity to pass on skills and experience, or it could represent a moment of unadulterated joy as they face up to the challenges at the end of life.
Michelle Ballantyne, MSP
As Christine Grahame pointed out, I visited Newbyres this morning to see that inspiring intergenerational project first hand. Modesty precludes me from talking about how magnificent my performance in the beanbag throwing was, but it was fantastic to take part in the potted sports and to engage with the children, elderly residents and staff, who are filled with enthusiasm for the project and the potential for the future. Bessie, who is in the gallery, spoke to me earlier and she said that, when residents are waiting for the children to arrive, they often feel anxious but their world is brightened as the children enter the facility and it is filled with joy and laughter. That was certainly the atmosphere that welcomed me when I arrived at the project today, and I left knowing that support for intergenerational projects is the right thing to do for children, the elderly and the wider community. We know that high-quality early learning and childcare play a key role in improving outcomes for children. That is why we are committed to doubling the amount of funded hours by the end of this session of Parliament, and we are placing quality at the heart of our approach. We are developing a quality action plan, which we will publish next month, and over the summer we have been working with stakeholders who know what drives quality and what more we need to do to strengthen that initiative. The action plan will contain a series of actions to ensure that early learning and childcare deliver a high-quality experience for our children. One of those actions will be to promote learning from ELC centres of innovation such as the one that I visited this morning. We will make sure that centres that are carrying out innovative and exciting work that has a positive impact on children are supported to celebrate and share their ideas with other settings.
Mark McDonald, Minister for Childcare and Early Years
- FEEDBACK ABOUT THE PROJECT
I like making things with the people who live there
I like seeing the people and singing songs.
- Resident’s comments:
It takes you back to when our children were that size”
“They are always doing something different, I enjoy seeing their happy faces.
- Nursery Parent’s comments:
He has developed an increased respect for the older generation as well as an increased confidence in communicating with a variety of new adults. Additional opportunities to take part in rich learning experiences in a new setting.
Empathy, respect, social skills with all generations, wisdom and confidence, greater sense of and respect for community, initiative, demonstrates consideration for others needs.
- Residents' families' comments:
Fantastic innovation. Many thanks to all involved in making this happen, great to see my mum smiling and getting involved.
Great to see my nana looking much happier. The last few weeks she has been a bit down didn't even want to leave her room. Seeing the pictures today that she is engaging with others is amazing. Thank you Newbyres Nursery.