I’ve written about ‘doing things differently before’ particularly when it comes to education and the building of schools. A couple of years ago a stumbled across an intergenerational care home and nursery (pre-school) that had been set up in Seattle, USA.
“The children trot in and they love it. They dance and they prance. And we love it too,” beams Anna Platman, 93, who has been a resident of the care home for nearly a year. “Being old has its moments. But for the hour or so you forget that you’re away from your own family.”
Innovations like this make so much sense particularly in areas of Scotland (and other parts of the world) where there is a rapidly aging population and where at the same time the Government has made bold commitment to increase the amount of free childcare to 1,140 hours per year (30 hours per week) by 2020.
As well as the social benefits of intergenerational working there will be obvious academic benefits as well. For example we know that Back-and-forth exchanges boost children's brain response to language which in turn develops literacy rates - but for these back-and-forth exchanges to occur you need more people to talk to the young children (a ratio of 1:10 just won’t cut it). There will be other subtle benefits as well, such as young people learning about mobility, disability (eg: hearing impairment) and loss.