Impact of the Programme / The Benefits of Intergenerational Work

The Burnham Intergenerational Programme began with 2 underlying aims:   

  • To provide a group of older people with an opportunity to share their special memories with others, and particularly with children
  • To help a local school develop its connection with the wider community

The initial focus of the Programme was primarily educational, the objective being to extend children’s knowledge and understanding of the Second World War through discussions with older people who had lived through it. In recent years the Programme’s aims have been extended and refined and its scope broadened to include a wider range of topics and activities.

The Programme continues to have an important educational role, reinforcing  and complementing classroom learning and helping to deliver on specific requirements of the National Curriculum, particularly with regard to language and literacy (see pages 8-11 of this section).

But what very quickly emerged as the Programme developed were the wider and lasting benefits that arose from building connections between the generations.

From a school’s perspective there are clear links with Ofsted’s Guidance on Personal Development and with the Relationships and Health Education Curriculum whilst from an individual’s perspective the Programme clearly fits with the Five Ways to Wellbeing 1 approach championed by the NHS with its suggested actions to improve mental wellbeing throughout life: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/. We have had many examples over the past 18 years of the Programme’s very positive impact on older people’s and children’s sense of wellbeing. 

Each week the Programme’s success is clearly demonstrated by the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the children and older people who take part and the happy and relaxed atmosphere. There are shared jokes and much laughter but there are also quieter more reflective times when the children and older people display great sensitivity to one another. 

The children and older people learn from one another by sharing their knowledge and experiences but also enjoy learning new things together. The sessions also provide an opportunity for the older people to rediscover old talents like drawing or writing poetry, things which they may not have done for many years. The quieter children gain confidence in reading aloud and interacting with adults.

 

Each week the Programme’s success is clearly demonstrated by the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the children and older people who take part and the happy and relaxed atmosphere. There are shared jokes and much laughter but there are also quieter more reflective times when the children and older people display great sensitivity to one another. 

The children and older people learn from one another by sharing their knowledge and experiences but also enjoy learning new things together. The sessions also provide an opportunity for the older people to rediscover old talents like drawing or writing poetry, things which they may not have done for many years. The quieter children gain confidence in reading aloud and interacting with adults.

Sometimes unexpected connections were discovered

"Going to Perry House you realise that the older generation are really nice to talk to" (11 year old girl, 2020)