Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

“Who would have thought a 2-year-old’s best friend would be a 92-year-old who also loves dinosaurs?”

By: ANNE FITZPATRICK AND CARMEL GALLAGHER

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Inter-generational learning is the oldest form of learning. It typically involves learning that takes place in families and communities as part of daily life.

 

"The most important theme was the development of relationships between the grannies and the children and not just in school, but also in the community when they met at the shops, Mass, or local festivals. The communication skills of the children improved as they learned to speak louder, clearer and sometimes repeat things so that the seniors could better hear and understand them."

 

"During the afternoon the children and older people played bingo. Each team consisted of a child and older person. One of the older children sat between two women and repeated each item for the women, as they told her they couldn’t hear. Later, when we got back to the crèche, she told me, 'I loved helping the grannies to win in bingo and that’s what happens when you get older - your ears don’t work good anymore and you need someone to tell you things.'"

 

"I loved the lovely music we all made together."

 

"Who would have thought a 2-year-old’s best friend would be a 92-year-old who also loves dinosaurs?"

 

These are the comments of young children and early years practitioners involved in inter-generational learning (IGL) programmes. These took place in a number of Irish early years settings in recent months, with one initiative being awarded an Inspired Practice Award in October 2018

In the past, young children and older people naturally spent time together; often sharing the same home or living close to extended family. Today, children and older people are spending more time in age-segregated settings such as early years services, day centres, and nursing homes. Social changes such as migration, changing family forms, and urbanisation have contributed to a need for new approaches to strengthen contact between generations and promote social inclusion. As a result of these changes, planned IGL programmes are becoming important for bringing together people from different generations to share knowledge, skills, values and to have fun. Older people have much to share with young children, including stories, customs, skills and even the art of conversation. Young children also have much to share with older people through their enthusiasm and energy for living and learning, as well as their empathy and expertise with technology. Inter-generational activities are about learning together, learning from each other, and learning about each other. They are also an important way of building positive relationships between generations, as well as fostering a sense of community and social cohesion.

Many examples of inspiring IGL programmes are now emerging, not only in early years services and nursing homes but also in community centres, libraries, and community gardens around Ireland. A good example is this multi-generational choir bringing together generations from many communities in Donegal

The Together Old and Young (TOY) programme, funded by the EU to promote IGL between young children and older people, has developed a short, free online course for anyone interested in developing IGL with young children. Twenty-seven Irish practitioners, along with many European practitioners, piloted the training programme. This included a week-long workshop on IGL in DIT in May 2018. Many of these practitioners have gone on to develop IGL programmes within their own ECE services. Since the online course was launched in October 2018, it has been undertaken by more than 250 practitioners throughout the world. The next 6-week course will start on March 4th 2019 and registration opens on February 4th. Click here for more.

IGL offers many benefits to the lives and learning of young children and older people. It facilitates meaningful experiences for two generations at different stages of life in what is a win-win situation for all.

 

Anne Fitzpatrick and Dr. Carmel Gallagher from Technological University of Dublin (formerly DIT) were participants in the TOY project. For further information contact anne.fitzpatrick@dit.ie or carmel.gallagher@dit.ie.

 

Anne Fitzpatrick and Carmel Gallagher will host an inter-generational learning masterclass at our Annual Conference on Saturday 13 April 2019. 

For more information on our Annual Conference Weekend 2019 and to book your place, please click here



Biographies
Anne Fitzpatrick worked for many years as a lecturer and tutor on the BA Early Childhood Education programme in the Technological University Dublin (formerly DIT). Before that, she worked in a variety of ECE services in both the community and disability sectors. Her teaching and research interests focus mainly on early years practice, including intergenerational learning, the professional development of ECE practitioners and partnership with families and communities. She was a member of the ‘Together Old and Young’ (TOY) EU-funded consortium on intergenerational learning from 2012 to 2018. She is currently researching intergenerational learning in the early childhood sector from the perspectives of young children, older persons and early years practitioners.

Carmel Gallagher is a Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences in the Technological University Dublin based at the Grangegorman campus. She teaches on the BA in Social Care and is currently Coordinator of the MA Child, Family and Community studies programme. She has developed CPD training for staff who are responsible for providing activities programmes in day and residential centres for older people. She has a particular research interest in older people and is author of ‘The Community Life of Older People in Ireland’. Along with her colleague, Anne Fitzpatrick, she was a member of the ‘Together Old and Young’ (TOY) EU-funded consortium on intergenerational learning from 2012 to 2018

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Plastic(1) DCYA(4) ICBN(1) maternity health(1) CCTV(1) Community involvement(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Academics(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Maria Montessori(1) Storytelling(4) Twitter(1) Mark Twain(1) Thanks(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Kerry(1) Magic(1) Childcare(2) Favouritism(1) Research Seminar(1) Intention(1) The Jelly King(1) Siolta blog(4) Story(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Sequins(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Vietnam(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Graduation(1) Consent(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Diversity(1) Glitter(2) Competent(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Norway(2) friendships(1) Upcycling(1) San Miniato(4) Trick or treat(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) food(1) reading(5) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) social media(1) Wendy Lee(3) Giraffe(2) Time(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Wonder(1) Irish(1) Visual Impairment(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Gratitude(1) toddlers(3) Sustainable(1) emotional environment(1) Xbox(1) Universal Design(2) AIM(2) Certificate(1) preschool(2) Penguins(1) Mealtimes(1) experience(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Síolta(108) School Age Childcare(1) documentation(3) Whole Group(1) Brain(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Mathematicians(1) Syria(1) Awards 2019(1) Easter(1) Administrative Burden(1) Leaders in Practice(1) MECPI(1) Titles(1) MA(1) respect(5) Magnavacchi(1) HR(1) Craft(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) outdoor play(6) IGL(1) value(1) Inter-generational(2) Engagement(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Impact(1) Visitors(1) Celebrations(4) Graduate(1) Meet the Members(1) Policy(2) Summer(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Dance(1) Workplace Relations(3) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Laugh(1) learning(19) Staff Motivation(1) early years research(1) Shapes(1) Design(1) relationships(17) Supernanny(1) Socioemotional development(1) Yoga(1) Budget 2019(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Recycle(1) Games(1) Mental Health(3) Health(2) memories(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Treasure(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Montessori(3) eating(1) Decisions(1) Party(1) educating(1) Identity(5) Horizon 2020(1) GDPR(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) meals(3) National Awards 2019(1) Capable(1) Digital(1) play stories(1) Body Language(1) TOY Programme(1) Learning Story(1) pets(1) communication(4) Traffic Lights(1) Scéalta Blog(91) Exit interview(1) budget(1) Relaxation(1) Names(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Snack Time(1) Reflective Practice(1) RIE philosphy(1) Workplace well-being(1) Valentine's Day(3) Italy(1) Leprechauns(1) transitions(10) Painting(1) environments(1) Mindfulness(2) University(1) Maternity Leave(1) Routines(1) Window(1) Santa(2) Care-giving routines(1) Book Review(1) Celebrate(1) Fantasy play(1) Snakes(1) babies(7) Scents(1) Engineering Ireland(1) NCCA(3) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) scéalta(29) Investment(2) RTE Investigates(1) Stress(2) Infection Control(1) United Nations(1) Smiles(1) child-centred approach(1) Awards(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Children and families(1) Through the looking glass(1) collaboration(1) Thinking(1) Well-Being(9) Kids Own(1) Educators(1) Inspections(1) Map(1) Adoption(1) UD(1) Exercise(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Sweets(1) Teamwork(1) Wilenski(1) Jenga(1) Arithmetic(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) curiosity(3) Learning Stories(9) overhear(1) Playdough(1) books(4) Qualifications(1) Albert Einstein(1) story time(2) Maths Week(1) Prexit(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Interactions(2) Affordability(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Professionalisation(4) Hand Hygiene(1) purpose(1) Human Resources(1) Death(2) Communicating(1) interacting(2) planning(1) Buddies(1) science week(2) Event Guide(1) Wesco(1) Learning journals(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Spiders(1) Masterclass(2) Weather(1) Budget 2018(1) Book Club(2) mushrooms(1) Playschool(1) life long learning(1) curriculum(5) Inspirational(2) Empathy(1) Mount Everest(1) dublin(2) CIT(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Learning Stories Award(3) animals(2) Oireachtas(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Change(1) listen(1) development(8) Appreciation(1) Patterns(1) Blocks(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) INTO(1) First 5(1) Art(6) Trigonometry(1) emotions(2) ReCreate(2) feisty(1) Participation(2) Rituals(1) conversations(1) risk assessment(1) Social Skills(1) Arlene Forster(1) Autism(3) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) ECCE(6) Iceland(1) routine(2) Afghanistan(1) Exploring(1) Plants(1) Performance Management(1) Line-ups(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Recycling(2) Shoes(1) Winter(1) Training(2) Confidence(1) Communications(1) CPD(1) early childhood educator(1) Child mental health(1) baby room(1) PIP(1) Orla Kenny(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Obesity(1) Awards 2018(3) E.coli(1) Exclusion(1) Frustrations(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Iraq(1) Anxiety(2) UNCRC(1) Challenges(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Environment(2) Feeding(1) Family(1) risky play(2) EM Standing(1) Reggio(1) Little Buddies(1) Building Resilience(1) risk(2) San Minia(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) AsIAm(1) outdoors(3) Workforce(1) Behaviour(3) Family wall(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Quality(4) Special Needs Assistants(1) Children's Research Network(1) Engineering(3) Nutrition(1) Children's Rights(3) Time Out(1) Vertical grouping(1) Meal time(1) DES Inspection(1) Creativity(4) Touch(1) Trade union(1) blog(28) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Cork(1) Sleep(1) listening(1) Malaguzzi(1) educarer(1) outdoor space(3) Loss(1) Our Little Seed(1) Lego(2) Treasure Chest(1) Fee Play(1) education(2) UN(1) Childhood(1) Employee(1) Ceremony(1) Eritrea(1) bonds(1) Snacks(1) Thank you(1) dining experiences(1) ears(1) Performing(1) Traditions(2) Breathing(2) Halloween(2) First 5 strategy(1) journey(1) College(1) Early Years Educators(2) Mixed age groups(2) Children's Voice(1) Imagination(3) community(5) Margy Whalley(1) National Awards 2018(2) role playing(1) European Project(1) Advocacy(1) Drawing(2) Culture(2) Facebook(1) Grief(1) Wrapping paper(1) Síolta QAP(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) christmas(9) Interaction(1) Elders(1) Children(3) worries(1) Independence(1) Pobal(1) refugees(1) Rich Documentation(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Identity and Belonging(4) Aldo Fortunati(4) Creative(1) TRAP(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Pen green(1) Fabric(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Home Corner(1) Builders(1) Inclusion(3) Maths(5) Aistear(113) Sport(1) Budget 2020(1) NAEYC(1) Confident(1) Document Learning(1) ERASMUS+(3) Leargas(1) Decision Making(1) Positivity(1) Mo Scéal(1) Self Help Skills(1) InspireMe.ie(1) National Holiday(1) Maynooth(1) Early Years(1) stories(2) Potential(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) science(3) Sculptures(1) New Appointments(1) Japan(1) Seas Suas(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Nonverbal(1) Self-Esteem(1) supportive environments(2) Limerick(1) Academic Skills(1) Running(1) Settling in(4) dining(1) Mayo(1) Kilkenny(1) ECEC(1) Sustainability(3) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Engineers Week(2) Support(1) Infectious diseases(1) grandchild(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Role play(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) under 3's(3) Degree(1) dogs(1) Cognitive development(1) STEM(3) linc(1) parents(5) Belonging(3) Queues(1) Leadership(1) Trade Unions(1) Care routines(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Biting(1) Technology(3) Self-regulation(1) SPICE Framework(1) EECERA 2016(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Magda Gerber(1) Mantra(1) Study Trip(1) Light table(1) Digital Devices(1) Interests(1) Arts(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Maynooth University(1) Online(1) Love(2) Flowers(1) Learning Journal(1) research(6) Bereavement(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) trust(3) Mud kitchens(1) Laughter(1) Primary School(2) play(32) Music(3) Liz Kerrins(1) Photographs(1) Funding(1) Buddy Bench(1) Gardening(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine