Children at Winifred Nance Kindergarten enjoy fortnightly visit from seniors
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Children at Winifred Nance Kindergarten enjoy fortnightly visit from seniors

by Freya Lucas

July 13, 2022

A partnership between Colac Area Health’s Miller House and Winifred Nance Kindergarten is brightening the days of both children and the elderly, with fortnightly visits seeing all participants building strong relationships. 

 

The ‘WinMil Ageless Connections’ program began in May with Barwon Child, Youth & Family (BCYF) Manager Early Years Education and Community, Julie Molloy, explaining its core driver is to connect children with the community in meaningful ways and to break down barriers between the generations.

 

“Winifred Nance teachers identified that within the Colac community many older people live on their own and they wondered how they had continued their social connections through multiple lockdowns,” Ms Molloy said.

 

“They wanted to do something to support older members of the community and create the opportunity for them to pass their knowledge on to the children.”

 

The kindergarten teamed up with Miller House, which provides social support for older people in the community who live in their own homes, and WinMil Ageless Connections was born.

 

Miller House Social Support Co-ordinator Sandra Lawrence said children had been welcoming and engaging with the participants.

 

“WinMil Ageless Connections provides a supported opportunity for our participants and kinder children to learn from each other, feel valued within our community and increases the awareness that no matter what the age, we can still have fun,” she said.

 

During the fortnightly sessions the adults and children have been getting to know each other and enjoying activities including pot decorating, planting vegetables, free play in the playground, sing alongs and even a teddy bear’s picnic. One of the participants, a former kindergarten teacher at Winifred Nance, is enjoying exploring the environment and passing on her wisdom.

 

Tammy Camerson, a teacher at Winifred Nance, said children and adults were already benefiting from the interaction.

 

“The children have naturally gravitated to the adults; they are showing empathy and natural skills to support our adults, such as carrying their chairs for them, helping to keep them safe in the playground and ensuring they are participating in the activities set each session,” she said.

 

The adults have also provided positive feedback through letters and phone calls, although the looks on their faces say it all. “Seeing both adults and children smiling and beaming with excitement on their arrival is priceless to see,” Ms Cameron added.

 

Based on the early success of the program, and after two years without community members being able to visit kinder, the partners are keen to continue and grow the program.

 

Pictured above (from left), Lukas Gage-Brown, Anne Densley and Angus Budge. Photo courtesy of the Colac Herald.

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