Intergenerational activity


Here is some feedback from schools about what they are doing to create positive attitudes to ageing across generations and give older people and young people a better understanding of their generations.

If you have any stories of your own, please email them to the The Office for Senior Citizens.

Field of Remembrance Project — Whangarei District Schools

older person and young person interacting

The objective of this project was to have learning opportunities for young and old while strengthening intergenerational understanding.

When a young person was caught using the swastika inappropriately, their action resulted in a community project to ensure future generations had a greater understanding of the price of peace and the sacrifice previous generations had made.

Six hundred crosses, representing Northland service men and women who lost their lives during World War I and II and UN peacekeeping operations, were placed in an accessible central city park by 300 local youth from most schools in the district, 30 days prior to ANZAC day.

The project culminated in the largest ANZAC dawn service that Whangarei has ever held. It was touching to hear teenagers looking at the crosses and saying, "Hey he was only 18 - young like us."

This project will be repeated and will include the Whangarei Youth Orchestra, and a choir of 70 people whose ages range from seven to 82 years.

Contact: Archie Dixon

Older than us buddies programme — Bluestone School, Timaru

older person and young person interacting

To better link generations through meaningful activities and increase appreciation of each other's needs, roles and attitudes, the school made contact with the local rest home, through Presbyterian Support, to set up an initiative.

A programme of activities and visits was developed for Year 5 and 6 students and rest home residents, each having a specific theme or purpose. Examples include sharing and making notes in a book called ‘This is my life' about past and current school days, making things together like gifts, musical instruments and dream catchers, playing games and reading books together.

The principal was pleased to see progress on this initiative to improve communication and understanding between generations and said, "It brought pleasure to all involved and a lot was learned by both young and old! There was lots of laughter and often awe and amazement on both sides, hearing delightful stories as relationships unfolded."

At the end of the programme a concert was held at the school followed by a great afternoon tea. This allowed families to meet the buddies and to appreciate the interaction that took place between the generations, as the children shared their logbook experiences with parents and class mates.

Contact: Ian Poulter

Looking at our past — Westland High School, Hokitika

older person and young person interacting

As part of the Social Studies curriculum, Year 7 students interview a person over 60 years of age. The students prepare the questions, write up their findings and follow up with an evaluation.

Students become aware of differences and similarities between the generations and can appreciate the challenges people faced growing up in Hokitika more than fifty years ago.

The interviewer remarked of the children, "They were surprised to learn that family life was very different — families were often much larger, and grandparents usually lived nearby or with family."

Older volunteers enjoy the experience and occasionally play the role of honorary grandparents to immigrant students.

Contact: Ferg Harding

Pause, Prompt, Praise Reading Recovery tool — Mercury Bay Area School, Whitianga

older person and young person interacting

A teacher working at the Mercury Bay Area School for forty years introduced the Pause-Prompt-Praise (P.P.P.) Programme to the school thirteen years ago.

There are twenty-two volunteers aged from their late thirties to mid-eighties who are matched to the personalities of students needing help with reading.

The programme takes place daily with students ranging from seven to seventeen. A daily record is kept of each child's attendance, and progress and reading problems are noted.

Teacher's comment, "The older volunteers make great inroads with many students, even some who are initially reluctant to participate. Older volunteers find the programme useful and consider it important for children to be given due attention and time to read and be listened to."

Contact: Barbara Boyd