Hey dee ho’s intergenerational adventures
The integration of early childhood and aged care has been prominently shared within the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector of late, with the popularity of Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds, and a range of research pieces demonstrating the value of connecting the younger and older generations.
The practice, however, has been in place for some providers for a longer period of time. In this article, Jenny Wilkinson, Hey dee ho founder, explains how the educational services provider has been creating opportunities for young and old to connect.
In 2015, Hey dee ho piloted musical concerts for families with young children at an aged care residence in Melbourne. We had seen firsthand the benefits of music across all generations in social situations during our parent child and community classes. Some of our presenters also worked closely with seniors as part of other pursuits, so we started to conduct more research and to date the results have been astounding.
Starting off with sessions at Mercy Place centres in Melbourne, Perth and Cairns, the monthly sessions soon became very popular with all participants. Early learning centres as well as families started to attend regularly and we were featured on ‘The Project’ in September 2017. We now run these sessions in around 50 facilities nationally and the number is growing.
These musical sessions with puppets, props and simple percussion instruments tick so many boxes for all concerned:
- Residents enjoy the interaction – they can either sit and watch or join in at their own level of physical capability.
- Statistics say that up to 40 per cent of residents do not receive any visitors. These concerts encourage residents to venture out of their rooms and interact with everyone.
- Sessions promote movement and activities in a fun, joyous environment.
- Parents and children who often don’t have close extended families, develop beautiful relationships with the residents. This introduces many new concepts to all concerned and improves tolerance and understanding across the generations.
- The early learning sector has also embraced the free music sessions – preschools and early learning centres join families, playgroups and family day care groups, attending regularly each month.
Since the broadcast of “Old people’s homes for 4 year olds” our sessions have experienced renewed interest from all over Australia. Hey dee ho now use a booking system to make sure that sessions are not too crowded.