Over the course of the 2013-2014 school year, a wonderful connection has been created between the Kindergarten students at Marysville Elementary School and the residents of Garden View Village.
Kindergarten teachers Natasha Burgess and Crystal Scott began the school year with a vision for an Intergenerational Classroom in Kimberley. These teachers were inspired by successful programs running in Invermere and Golden. They partnered with community manager LeeAnn McDonald and resident advisor Kathy King to create a program at Garden View Village that would be beneficial to both the children and the elders.
The focus of the program is to promote connectedness between generations through story-telling, crafts and time spent together. The Marysville Kindergarten classes alternate weekly in attending Garden View Village on Wednesday mornings. There are 18 students going each week, with a total of 36 students involved in the program. 80 residents currently live in Garden View Village; however, the children usually have the opportunity to interact with 12-18 elders on a weekly basis. The interactions and connections between the seniors and the students have been incredible to witness, and the teachers at Marysville Elementary School believe that this program has been mutually beneficial.
Kindergarten teacher Natasha Burgess says, “The sights and sounds around the table as the children and their senior friends interact are amazing. Joy radiates through the room as we watch twinkling eyes and smiling faces, and listen to the musical sound of laughter”.
As this is an ongoing project, there have been a number of costs associated with running the program, including bussing and supplies. The Kindergarten teachers are very thankful to a gracious donation of $1000 from the Kimberley Elks Club and a $300 donation from the Kimberley Iota Alpha chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. It is support from local organizations such as these that enable new initiatives and connections across generations. The Kindergarten classes at Marysville Elementary School will continue this project in years to come, and look forward to further fostering strong relationships amongst the community members of Kimberley.