Intergenerational relationships bring smiles to all

Residents Anna Bauer, Jo Pigg, Jim Pigg and Margaret Armfield enjoy visits from students at Prince of Peace.

Residents Anna Bauer, Jo Pigg, Jim Pigg and Margaret Armfield enjoy visits from students at Prince of Peace.

“Wherever there are beginners and experts, old and young, there is some kind of learning going on, some kind of teaching. We are all pupils and we are all teachers.” ~ Gilbert Highet

There’s nothing quite like a child’s smile. Innocent, genuine and full of promise. Topeka Presbyterian Manor values all generations and are especially aware that intergenerational relationships are beneficial to all parties involved. That’s why we engage in regular activities with several local preschools and are always happy to host youth for other special events, programs and activities.

“It’s so important for residents because our students bring a new energy and a sweet spirit,” said Karla Haag, teacher at Prince of Peace Preschool. “We visit with assisted and independent living residents many times during the school year. It’s important for the kids because it helps them learn to initiate conversation and realize that it’s not all about them. For some, it’s a little scary at first. They’re shy. But it gets them out of their regular routine and teaches them how to socialize with others.”

Some of the activities the preschoolers have participated in with residents are holiday performances, ice cream socials, craft making and story time.

“The activity director Jeanne has been great to work with,” the teacher said. “We’ve come up with all sorts of ideas. We especially like activities where the kids are learning to serve others, like asking them what they’d like in their snack mix or ice cream sundae. The residents enjoy it so much, and that makes the kids feel really good.”

Some of the special residents Karla enjoys visiting with are Duane and Janet Kerschner, her parents.

“My dad has brought his little dog to the activities before. The kids love that,” she said.

Residents in the health care neighborhood join in the intergenerational fun, too, with regular visits from Heights of Learning Preschool.

“The students visit twice a month and engage in all sorts of activities with residents,” said Health Care Activities Director Amber Lopez. “We’ve made crafts, used play-dough, had singalongs, balloon exercises and have even made necklaces and May Day baskets for the children to take home to their mothers.”

Residents and children alike thoroughly enjoy the intergenerational experience.

“You can see an immediate change on the residents’ faces when the kids get there. It’s such a good atmosphere,” Amber said.

Intergenerational activities are just one of the many ways Presbyterian Manor is creating the best community possible. For more information about these events, or to suggest ideas for future events, call Activity Director Jeanne Bird at 785-289-9920.