After a successful initial visit to Whitley Court in December 2018, where a group of the older children sang some Christmas songs to the residents, it was decided to make weekly visits from January. We now take a group of six children each week for a couple of hours to visit a group of the residents and engage in different activities, this has proved very popular with everyone involved. Below is an articlefrom the Nursery World magazine about our visits.
Article written in Nursery World May 2019
Setting: Collaton St Mary Pre-school, a 50-place pre-school providing sessional care
Care home provision: Whitley Court,owned and managed by Sanctuary Retirement Living
Six four-year-olds have brought such joy to a group of residents at this retirement community that one of the ladies has taken on the role of lead storyteller and a gentleman is ‘flourishing’ as a result of the visits. Pre-school manager Julia Yarrell, who set up the partnership with support from Torbay Early Years team, says the initiative was originally a five-week pilot. However, the results have been so positive that they are going to continue funding the minibus to transport the children on the 15-minute journey from the setting in Paignton to the retirement complex, which comprises 62 self-contained apartments. ‘Week on week the bonds are getting stronger,’ she says. ‘The children are talking making suggestions of what to do with them during the sessions. Last week, a little boy brought in a train set and he spent some wonderful one-to-one time with a gentleman who has a keen interest in trains. We also brought in a doll’s house for some of the children to engage in small-world play. ‘In past weeks, we’ve done parachute games, listened to music and movement CDs, set out playdough on long tables for children to play with the tenants and listened to Elvis. There’s always a story – Wonky Donkey is a favourite – and it’s wonderful to see the chairman of the tenant’s association, a resident herself, begin to take ownership of the visit by leading the storytelling and coming up with ideas for future sessions.
‘One week the children wanted to take in their learning journals to show them photos of what they do at pre-school. The tenants loved finding out a bit more about their lives, so we thought it might be nice for them to share a bit about their own lives one week, perhaps some photos of their family or their wedding day, for example.
‘Back at the setting we have a noticeboard with photos of the nine main residents who attend each week and their names. We have also made a similar board for the service which sits in the communal room that we visit each week. It’s such a wonderful feeling to give something back to the community – and to hear that one gentleman who has no family was so delighted to receive a hand-made card from the children that he spent weeks talking about it and showing it to everyone is heart-warming.
‘We have invited the tenants to come for an afternoon tea party at the pre-school after
Easter. And our long-term aim is to bring parents along to the visits in the hope that rapports will be built and they will eventually visit the tenants with the children in their own time.