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Playful mayhem in aged care

Every third Tuesday of the month is playtime at Victorian aged and disability care provider, Villa Maria's Wantirna residence. Up to 16 three to five year olds from Swinburne Children's Centre visit the home as part of the kinder community project.
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Villa Maria's Wantirna residents are visited by Swinburne Children's Centre’s kinder kids every third Tuesday.

In the lounge room, the children go about their playful business, creating towers from building blocks, playing with farmyard animals and reading stories.

All the while, the residents watch fascinated, smiling at the effervescent energy of the toddlers and the delightful noise of the innocent.

For many residents, the session is the highlight of their month and the interaction with the children brings out a side of them not normally seen by the centre's staff.

Anita Ross, Villa Maria lifestyle coordinator, says some of the residents don't participate in many activities, but they wouldn't miss the chance to play like a kid again.

Ms Ross has seen residents speak when usually they're silent, and the nurturing side of people who are normally “very stiff and practical”.

The children, who are from the Swinburne Children's Centre’s kinder room, visit every third Tuesday as part of their community project.

Kinder teacher assistant, Lesa, says they chose this project because they felt it would have benefits for both the children and residents.

“The children learnt about growing older before they started their visits, including what older people looked like,” Lesa says.

"We prepared the children because some of them may not have grandparents or have interaction with older people. We prepared them for what older people look like, in that they're different to their parents,” she adds.

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