In August 2019, the residents of the Oak Park Arms welcomed the Kindness Creators Intergenerational Program, an innovative preschool for children aged three to five. Housed within the Oak Park Arms, many senior residents volunteer at the preschool and interact with the children during organized activities.
The famous anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”
The Oak Park Arms is the only retirement community that has an adult day care AND a preschool for children all under one roof. In addition, the two groups are able to interact with each other. It’s a win win for kids and seniors.
In the middle of the 20th century, benefits of contributing to younger generations was just a theory. Today it is known that intergenerational activities give most older people feelings of accomplishment and success and show elders that they are valued as individuals. What is helpful to a child are the skills and proficiencies that older adults have in abundance due to life experiences.
Seniors report they don’t think about their age when in the company of young children. The youngsters bring a sense of vitality and fun, and the focus shifts to living in the moment. This volunteerism also satisfies a drive to give to others in a meaningful way.
Intergenerational activities for seniors include:
- Reading to children
- Easter Egg Hunt
- Trick or Treat
- Ice Cream Social
- Valentine’s Dance
Through these interactions, children develop positive attitudes toward aging. They learn patience, acceptance, social maturity, and in some cases, higher academic performance. According to the Department of Education, intergenerational programs are built on the assumptions that human development and learning are a lifelong process.
Seniors and Preschoolers promote intergenerational learning – CBS Saturday Morning
Stories about Kindness Creators:
- New daycare’s core curriculum is empathy – Wednesday Journal
- New preschool brings little kids and seniors together at Oak Park Arms – Oak Leaves / Chicago Tribune
- Segue From a Career to Volunteerism
- Seniors and Preschoolers find Cupid at Valentine’s Dance
For more information about the Oak Park Arms call 708-386-4040. For information about Kindness Creators call (708) 948-7634.