Littlies raising smiles for retirees

A retirement community southwest of Brisbane is regularly opening its doors to preschoolers.

A retirement community southwest of Brisbane is regularly opening its doors to preschoolers.

The young visitors – from the nearby Seedlings & Co early learning centre – and the older residents at Aveo’s Springfield retirement village are taking part in an intergenerational playgroup that aims to improve the children’s social connections and relationship skills.

Seedling & Co’s early education teacher Moka Pulemoana said the community program delivered mutual benefits to both generations.

“It’s delightful to watching the children form relationships with the residents,” said Ms Pulemoana. “Both generations learn something from each other on every visit. It’s a two-way process and it definitely puts smiles on everyone’s faces.”

The children – some of whom don’t have grandparents – are social butterflies, said Ms Pulemoana. “The conversations with their special friends never stop – it’s lovely what happens here.”

Julie Hughes – administration assistant at Aveo Springfield – said everyone in the retirement community looked forward to the monthly visits. “It’s a lovely opportunity for residents to have some quality interaction with the youngsters.”

The children participate in a variety of activities, said Ms Hughes, including gardening, crafts, and games. “They take part in a different activity each visit and often the children will do a performance or sing us a song.”

Ms Hughes said the residents have made firm friendships. “Close bonds have been formed and there’s always lots of hugs.”

Resident Sue Halliday said she enjoyed spending time with the littlies immensely. “I have two grandchildren with the youngest now 13 and you forget the magic of the imagination of a small child. A couple of them appeared inspired by the book I read about a frilled-neck lizard that led to a conversation about fighting dinosaurs in their backyards.”

Aveo Springfield is keen to expand the intergenerational program and hopes to invite high schoolers to the village in the near future.

Main image: Resident Sue Halliday with preschooler visitors

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Tags: aveo, intergenerational playgroup, Seedlings & Co,

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