Senior at Intergenerational Preschool

New daycare’s core curriculum is empathy

Ron Porter, 77, walked into the Kindness Creators Intergenerational Daycare, located inside of Oak Park Arms independent and assisted living retirement facility, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. in Oak Park, bearing gifts — two jumbo packs of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups he’d bought during a trip to Walgreens on Oct. 2.

“It’s my 4-year-old granddaughter’s birthday, so I felt obliged to get treats for the kids,” said Porter, whose grandkids live in Lockport — about a 40-minute drive from his Oak Park Arms residence. “I love children.”

The new daycare, which the Oak Park Board of Trustees approved to operate inside of Oak Park Arms last November, opened on Aug. 29. Porter, an Oak Park Arms resident who volunteers at the daycare, said he rarely gets to see his five grandchildren, but the fidgety preschoolers allow him to feel something of his granddaughter’s vibrancy despite her absence.

Jaime Moran — a co-owner who also serves as co-director and co-head teacher along with her business partner, Pamela Lawrence — said the idea to start a daycare inside of a retirement community was inspired by her relationship with her grandfather.

“I grew up with my grandpa, who had Alzheimer’s disease and I can remember when I was young, he always remembered me,” Moran said. “He never remembered the adults in the family and even up to the day he passed away, he knew who I was.”

If her grandfather was the motivation, Moran said, a documentary she saw about an intergenerational daycare in Seattle provided the spark.

“I was like, ‘Oh God, this is it, this is what I’m supposed to do,” Moran recalled. “We should have this. At the same time, Pam’s mom happened to be in a retirement community and she observed how the seniors would respond when she brought her daughters there. A mutual friend of ours happened to know [Moses Williams, Jr. — the executive director of Oak Park Arms] — and a dream came to live in about a year-and-a-half.” Read more ->

By Michael Romain, October 8, 2019
Wednesday Journal –