It’s back-to-school season and the students at one Seattle preschool are not only getting the chance to impact their community, but also learn a lot about life in a very unique and innovative way.
The Intergenerational Learning Center (ILC) has a very unique approach to teaching — starting with the school’s location. Located at Providence Mount St. Vincent, a senior care center in West Seattle, the preschool is part of a program that brings children and seniors together in a variety of different activities, which, the group says, results in ‘mutual benefits for both generations.’
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According to research, as many as 43% of older adults experience social isolation, which is correlated with loneliness and depression, and can lead to several increased health risks.
Children bring laughter and joy to senior community
Part of the ILC’s mission is to help seniors living at the center avoid those feelings of isolation — not only giving them a renewed sense of self worth, but also a chance to serve as role models for the children. The ILC says the program gives residents opportunities to ‘play, laugh, and enjoy the spirit and joy that children bring to their home environment.’ Plus, it gives the kids an opportunity to learn from and interact with people generations apart.
And that sense of multigenerational community is exactly what led filmmaker Evan Briggs to create a documentary about the program. ‘Present Perfect’ captures the interactions between the youngest and oldest members of the Seattle community, in an effort to illustrate the importance of living in the moment.
Briggs paid for the filming herself and started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the editing part of the process. (She has since reached her goal.)
Briggs says she hopes the film will help spread awareness about the generational segregation that exists in America, and she has seen firsthand how the senior residents at the center come alive when the children arrive to participate in activities together. She also hopes the idea of placing preschools in nursing homes will spread across the U.S. to new communities.