Last year, Channel 4’s documentary series highlighted how the well-being of elderly residents and young children mutually improved through spending periods of time in each other’s company. Children learnt to be more tolerant and enjoyed sharing with and listening to the older generation and residents thoroughly enjoyed the spontaneity that youth brought.
Inspired by this, staff at RSM contacted Eversfield, a local residential home, to establish links and this resulted in a plan for Reception children to visit the elderly residents on a weekly basis. The visits began in September and the first group of children have just completed four weekly sessions.
The visits involved residents reading stories to the children, helping them with craft and everyone singing songs and getting to know each other. Over the past few weeks, friendships have developed and the number of residents taking part in the activities has significantly increased.
Head of Outreach at RSM, Lesley Nicholson said ‘From the moment the children arrive, a general feeling of cheerfulness fills the room. The children benefit from the praise and feedback they receive from the residents, who in turn enjoy the interaction with the children. It is definitely something we are very proud of as a school and would like to see the link continuing for years to come’.
Headmaster, Marcus Culverwell said, ‘At Reigate St Mary’s we are passionate about education for social responsibility. Helping children to see the importance of engagement in the local community and to bring pleasure to those who both deserve the interaction and who greatly appreciate it, is a simple but hugely valuable lesson for children to learn.’