Teacher Guide


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Today's classrooms are filled with children who will enjoy an unprecedented longevity. Many of these students will live into their eighties, nineties, or beyond. They will be surrounded by other community members who will also be experiencing longer life spans. This aging population will have an effect on every aspect of our society.

How well prepared are these youngsters for taking advantage of their opportunity for long life? How will they deal with the challenges posed by the aging of their communities' populations?

The answers will depend on how we respond to the need for education about aging.

It is essential for children to develop positive attitudes toward older people and aging. Frequent interaction with older people can help children understand the different roles we accept as we age and grow.

In our mobile society frequent contact between generations may be difficult or impossible. Older and younger generations become separated when families relocate for jobs. Older family members may retire and move to another region. Many young people are deprived of contact with older generations and do not benefit from the experiences their elders might share with them. Where circumstances have severed family links, intergenerational programs can create new ones.

Senior role models can help students become greater contributors to their communities. Children can become more responsible citizens through programs designed to demonstrate the value of older persons. Writing and speaking skills can be improved through contact and correspondence with older adults. Seniors, who may have become physically distant from their families, gain a sense of contributing to their community when they serve as volunteers working with children who need them.
Teachers can expose their students to the subject of aging by having older and younger people working together in learning activities. By promoting intergenerational education, schools respond to the needs of the larger community and strengthen classroom instruction.
The program described in this guide was designed to bring schools and communities together and allow younger and older persons to learn from each other. While the guide is geared toward younger students (Grades K-3), its content can easily be adapted for use in older grade levels.

The links on the navigational menu to the left will take the reader to pages containing resources and materials for conducting an intergenerational project in a classroom environment. The materials provided include:

  • A program guide for the teacher or project leader;
  • Printable classroom materials;
  • A list of suggested children's books with an intergenerational theme;
  • Links to additional internet resources; and
  • A case study of the Grandbuddies Project as conducted in an actual classroom.

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