of 2002, residents of Copeland
Oaks Retirement Community in Sebring, Ohio and First Grade
students at Greentown
Elementary School in North Canton, Ohio came together
to participate in an intergenerational program. The school's
technology specialist and two first grade teachers developed
the program to help expand the written and social skills of
their first grade students through interactive learning activities
with older adults.
a monthly meeting of the Copeland Oaks Computer Users Group,
the school personnel explained the program to residents at
Copeland Oaks and asked for volunteers. Volunteers filled
out forms with their name, phone number and e-mail addresses
to indicate that they were willing to participate in the program.
a two month period, four bi-weekly meetings were held. Copeland
Oaks residents visited Greentown Elementary School for two
of the meetings. Greentown students traveled with their teachers
and school principal to Copeland Oaks for the other two meetings
via school bus. The meetings at the retirement community took
place in the campus community rooms and the school meetings
were held in the classrooms. In both cases, tours of the facilities
were also given. The meetings consisted of structured activities
along with some unplanned "free time" for interaction
and lasted approximately 1 hour.
participated in aging simulation activities in the classroom
which were designed to give them a greater understanding of
some of the physical challenges their Grandbuddies might face.
Intergenerational themed lessons were also introduced
in the classroom before, during, and following the project.
Teachers made an effort to expose the students to children's
literature that depicted aging as a natural and life long
process during story hours throughout the course of the project.
cases, the Copeland Oaks residents maintained contact with
the students between meetings via e-mail correspondence. Parents
were asked to monitor and assist the students with home e-mail
capabilities and students who did not have access to e-mail
in their homes conducted their correspondence through the
classroom teachers' school e-mail accounts.
meeting, the students interviewed their Grandbuddies about
their lives with a list of questions that had been prepared
prior to the meeting. Residents responded to the questions
and shared stories about themselves and their interests with
the students as well as helping their little friends take
notes. In the non-meeting weeks the students worked on developing
stories about their Grandbuddies from the information they
collected during the interviews. These stories were bound
into books that were presented to the residents by the students
at the final meeting. Each student also received a copy of
his/her own book as a keepsake of the project.
the project meetings had formally ended, many of the residents
continued to visit the school. Grandbuddies stopped in to
eat lunch in the cafeteria and attend classroom performances.
pages offer a brief synopsis of the Grandbuddies Project meetings
along with photos of the participants in action:
1 | Simulation Centers
| Meeting 2 | Meeting
3 | Final Meeting