In January Woodstone embarked on a new journey to bring more happiness and joy to the residents that call Woodstone of Hutchinson home.
They partnered up with the neighboring Kings Kids Preschool next door to show the benefits to others how important it is to engage children and seniors in Activities of Daily Living.
Erika Smith, Community Life Coordinator at Woodstone stated, “The reason I wanted to start this inter-generational program was to show small children that it is fun to be around older adults and they are not scary, at the same time the residents enjoy children.” With the help of the wonderful teachers at Kings Kids and the planning of Erika, the program was off and running.
The preschool class came to Woodstone every other Thursday. The residents and the preschool students participated in activities that the children were learning about in their classrooms each week as well as different fun activities that the kids and residents would have fun doing.
At first some of the kids were a bit scared and unsure about the residents, but through activities it gave the boys and girls something to focus on and not feel the stress of someone new. Each week we could see the kids coming out of their shells, talking more, asking questions and engaging with the resident in activities. The joy on the residents faces were priceless and the sense of purpose the residents were feeling as they were reading, painting, playing bingo and much more, was shining through.
By the end of the school year, the sound of giggles and laughter filled the dining room on Thursday afternoons. All the staff at Woodstone had to say was “The kids are coming today,” and the residents came out, waiting for them to arrive.
On our last day of the inter-generational classroom, we did what any of us would want to do on the last day of school and that was to have a Fun Day. We had treats and juice but the best part was that everyone got to feel like a kid and we had an ultimate Silly String Fight. Not only did the kids have smiles ear to ear, the residents were laughing and having a blast as well.
The joy the kids brought to the residents, they will never know, but the lesson that the children got to experience with spending time with the residents of Woodstone, we hope will live on forever.