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Pre-schoolers bring energy to retirement living

Five months into a joint initiative between a retirement village and early learning centre in New South Wales has seen life, energy and learning re-injected into retirement living through monthly visits between the young and the old.

Positive interaction between the young and not so young (Source: RetireAustralia)
Positive interaction between the young and not so young (Source: RetireAustralia)

For an hour each month, pre-school students from the neighbouring Goodstart Early Learning Glenfield Park take a walk to visit the residents of the Riviera Gums Retirement Village with a range of activities, treats and crafts for their elderly friends.

Early Childhood Teacher Claire Lane kicked off the initiative with Riviera Gums in February this year after approaching the retirement village with the ‘one-off’ idea and now takes around 20 kids once a month to visit the elderly residents.

“We take over some books, memory or card games, small puzzles, or drawing materials and at Easter we took over some biscuits the kids had made,” Ms Lane says.

“They both get a lot out of it, and it’s really special as a lot of our kids don’t have grandparents or extended families, and it’s nice for residents to have people visit them as well.

“It’s a huge benefit for both the residents and the kids.”

Riviera Gums Retirement Village has been receiving positive feedback from all residents who attend, with Village Manager Ann Baker saying the initiative is a wonderful way for the young and the not so young to interact in a positive way.

“It has been a great partnership between the two centres, which both the residents and the children enjoy,” Ms Baker says.

Some of the highlights for the residents in their feedback have been how much they love sharing morning tea with the pre-schoolers and how much they look forward to it each month as well as the many cuddles and energy that the children bring to the village.

Currently RetireAustralia who runs Riviera Gums Retirement Village is planning to continue the successful monthly visits with Goodstart Early Learning Glenfield Park and is considering similar initiatives in their other locations if suitable and by a village-to-village basis.

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