The benefits of time spent between young children and older people has been well documented.
For the older people, these encounters can enhance mood, encourage physical activity and improve enjoyment of life. For the children, it’s both fun and a rich learning experience.
To take advantage of these many benefits, our Raymond Terrace Activity Centre clients have been visiting a local preschool every couple of months for the past year. Activity Officer, Maraya Fameli’s son attends Our Place preschool in Raymond Terrace and owners, Jan and Ray, encourage and nurture the visits.
Maraya said, “When we began the visits we weren't sure how it would go, but it’s become a very special experience for everyone involved.”
The visits are equally anticipated by both our clients and the children.
“As soon as we arrive our clients and the preschool children are immediately curious about each other. At the last visit I heard the children excitedly discussing the clients as we were coming to the gate. One said, ‘Yay! Look, the funny man is back’, referring to one of our more boisterous clients,” said Maraya.
The clients enjoy morning tea while watching the children play outside. Morning tea is provided by the preschool and Jan and Ray always go above and beyond with their preparation. At the recent Christmas visit clients enjoyed shortbread, pavlova and fresh fruit.
“After morning tea the children come inside and we all sing songs and laugh together. We often rehearse songs in the Activity Centre before we attend to ensure our clients know the words and actions. After the songs the children and clients spend time talking to each other.
“Many clients have expressed how much they enjoy the visits. They always say that they wish they had the children’s energy, as well as what a wonderful, well-behaved group of children they are. One client, Bob, told me he loved how the children were looking at his walking stick with curiosity,” said Maraya.
The visits have been a huge success and everyone is looking forward to them continuing in 2020.
Enjoy the video below of our clients and the children from Our Place preschool singing together.
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