Even though children and seniors are at the opposite stages of life, they have a surprising amount of similarities. We see firsthand the profound impact seniors – who we call our “grand friends” – have on children and vice-versa. Intergenerational child care offers many benefits to childhood development that simply can’t be found in any other kind of child care center.
What Are the Benefits of Intergenerational Child Care?
Intergenerational child care gives children strong, positive role models that they interact with daily. These interactions are vital for developing strong communication skills, a sense of community and a positive attitude toward aging. Learning alongside seniors will help children see beyond their own small worlds. They understand more about life and discover many similarities between themselves and their “grand friends.” This understanding and love lays a foundation for celebrating diversity, a skill that they will use throughout their lives.
We also see a marked improvement in later childhood development. In schools where older adults were a regular fixture, children had more improved reading scores compared to their peers at other schools. Likewise, one study showed that when a child is mentored by an adult, they are: 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs; 27% less likely to begin using alcohol; 52% less likely to skip school.
How Does Intergenerational Child Care Work?
Because intergenerational child care is not widespread, there are a few misconceptions about how it functions. While seniors and children interact daily, our grand friends are not responsible for each child. Our child care staff supervises and guides mutual play so that both children and seniors are safe and receive the support they need. Another common concern is illness – that children will get seniors sick or vice-versa. Like any child care center, we follow a health policy to help curb the spread of colds and viruses. Parents do not need to be concerned about the senior living environment increasing the chance of illness.
At Riley Crossing, your family is our focus. Our child care philosophy is learning through play and exploration. We offer a unique program that brings multiple generations together in a stimulating co-learning environment. As children and older adults share memories, play games, and create together, an unmistakable bond forms that transcends generations. For kids who don’t live near their own grandparents, this connection can be especially poignant.
We are now taking applications for Fall 2019 and beyond for: