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Developing an
Intergenerational
Program
A GUIDEBOOK FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD PRACTITIONERS College of Agricultural Sciences
inYour Early Childhood Care and Education Center 2 Contents
Introduction............................................................. 3
Overview.................................................................. 3 Why
Go Intergenerational?....................................... 3 Benefits for
participating children............................... 4 Benefits for
participating senior adults....................... 5 Planning Your
Program........................................... 6
Staffing...................................................................... 6
Finding Institutional Partners..................................... 6 Training
and Support for Staff................................... 8 Importance of gaining
staff input and “buy-in”.......... 8 Training
objectives....................................................... 8 Introduction
to the intergenerational programming
field...........................................................................
.8
Viewing intergenerational programming in an early childhood development
framework....................... 9 Tuning into the contributions that older
adults can make to the early childhood education center ... 10 Learning to
facilitate intergenerational exchange...... 10 Ongoing training and
support................................... 11 Working with Senior
Volunteers.............................. 12 Recruiting senior
volunteers....................................... 13 Orientation and training
for seniors........................... 14 Placing
seniors........................................................... 15 Ongoing
communication with the seniors............... 16 Acknowledging senior
volunteers............................ 17 Curriculum
Development........................................ 17 Intergenerational
activities......................................... 17 Curriculum is more than
activities.............................. 19 Introducing the concept of
aging............................. 20 Planning developmentally appropriate
activities..... 20 The emergent curriculum: Creating a program based on
relationships..................................................... 22 Webbing:
An emergent curriculum planning
process................................................................. 23
Preparing the Environment..................................... 23 Nourishing
Relationships...................................... 25 Promoting Senior-Child
Relationships....................25 Promoting Senior-Parent
Relationships................... 26 Myths, Misconceptions, and Things to
Avoid....... 27 Evaluating Your Program......................................28
Concluding Thoughts............................................. 29
References............................................................. 30
Appendices—Resources and Materials for Conduct- ing Intergenerational Programs
in Early Childhood
Settings..............................................................31
Appendix A: Preliminary Survey to Obtain Staff Mem- bers’ Ideas about
Intergenerational Connections..... 32 Appendix B: Agenda for Staff In-Service
Training........ 33 Appendix C: Example of a Senior Volunteer Recruitment
Poster.........................................................................
34 Appendix D: Senior Volunteer Talent Bank Form.......... 35 Appendix E: Senior
Volunteer Information: Short Form 38 Appendix F: Framework for Conducting
Seniors-Only Group
Meetings......................................................... 39 Appendix G:
Forms of Age-Related Bias in Children’s
Literature....................................................................
40 Appendix H: Selected Intergenerational Books for Young
Children......................................................................
41 Appendix I: An Example of a Webbing Process.......... 42 Appendix J: Emergent
Curriculum Plan Form............... 43 Appendix K: Questionnaire for Teaching
Staff Involved in Intergenerational Program Activities..........................
44 Acknowledgments................................................. 47 3
Introduction Overview At an unprecedented level, new initiatives are emerg-
ing throughout the country that aim to bring young
people and older adults together in various settings to
interact, engage, educate, support, and provide care for one another. Our focus
here is on
intergenerational
programs in early
childhood educa-
tion settings.
Just as there is no one way for a senior adult and a child to share a moment,
there is no one way to
establish an
intergenerational
program. In this guidebook, we share our experi-
ences and those of
some colleagues
doing similar work. Our aim is to provide helpful suggestions for early
childhood professionals interested in involving senior
adults—whether they are volunteers, receive a small
stipend, or are paid staff—in early childhood care and
education programs.
Throughout this publication, we seek to provide
practical, easy-to-use information on effective prac-
tices for finding and training senior volunteers,
preparing staff, and integrating senior adults into the
curriculum. This guidebook and supplemental
materials are available online at
intergenerational.cas.psu.edu/earlychildhood.html. To help us learn how you are
using the guidebook
and to give us guidance as we develop additional
materials, please take a few minutes to fill out the
evaluation posted on the Web site.
We will attempt to demonstrate that, with good
support and training, senior adults can do more than
assist with the existing curriculum that is developed
by professional staff; they can become valuable
curriculum makers and contribute to all sorts of
positive changes in the entire early childhood setting.
To help bring key intergenerational practices to life, we draw heavily on
pictures of
programs in action
and, as much as
possible, sprinkle in the words of the participants themselves— senior adults,
children, teachers,
administrators,
and parents with
firsthand experi-
ence of
intergenerational
programs.
Why Go Intergenerational? Why develop intergenerational programs in early
childhood settings? We focus on two sets of reasons:
• Benefits for participating children
• Benefits for participating senior adults
4 Being in a relationship that matters: “Some of these kids don’t have
grandparents
available, and it’s like they adopt the older
folks.”
—Teacher, Seagull Schools, Honolulu, Hawaii
Helping children to be at their best: “[Since we started the intergenerational
program, children do more] smiling and giggling
instead of whining and crying.”
—Teacher, SKIPP (Senior-Kupuna in the
Preschools Project), Honolulu, Hawaii
“The classroom ambiance . . . changes when the
senior volunteers are around. It is surprising that
one single senior volunteer can make a major
difference in how the teacher is able to more
effectively manage the class full of preschoolers.
The children are mindful of the senior volunteer
and somehow seem to make an effort to be in
their best behaviors, to be more interested and
excited about the activities.”
—Excerpt from the interim report of the
evaluator of the Senior-Kupuna in the Preschools
Project, Honolulu, Hawaii
Expanding the circle of those who care: “The children immediately responded
affectionately to all the older adults who came
into the center, reinforcing our thoughts that
these children need the love that older
generations can offer.
We want to make sure that the entire
community can play a role in the development
of our young children.”
—Director, Bennett Family Center, State College,
Pennsylvania
Benefits for participating children Depending on how an intergenerational
program is
organized, children can benefit in many ways. With
good training and encouragement from the staff,
senior adults can be very effective in increasing the
level of affection and cognitive stimulation available to
children in the classroom environment.
O ne senior volunteer “talked about how the children took notice of her skin
today. She
said they touched her arms and looked closely
at her aging spots and wrinkles. We talked
about the children’s curiosity and how they can
learn through touch, sight, and sound.”
—Teacher, Bennett Family Center, State College,
Pennsylvania
Developing An Intergenerational Program- Early Childhood Care Center
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Non-fiction>PhilosophyRated:Intergenerational programs always have tremendous
potential in areas of education
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