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:

NAEYC(1) Learning Stories(8) Interaction(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Spiders(1) PIP(1) relationships(15) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Self-Esteem(1) Mud kitchens(1) risky play(2) Family(1) Advocacy(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Budget 2019(2) play stories(1) Maynooth(1) Reggio Emilia(1) CCTV(1) Norway(2) Feeding(1) bonds(1) Degree(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Mo Scéal(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Performance Management(1) Death(1) Awards 2018(3) emotions(2) Cork(1) EECERA 2016(1) dublin(2) Universal Design(2) Academic Skills(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) refugees(1) Children(1) AIM(2) Iceland(1) Painting(1) Playschool(1) Creativity(4) Performing(1) Graduate(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) curriculum(5) Plastic(1) Japan(1) Early Years Educators(2) story time(1) School Age Childcare(1) Trigonometry(1) National Awards 2018(2) Wendy Lee(2) education(2) Shapes(1) Buddies(1) Behaviour(3) Music(3) Socioemotional development(1) CPD(1) Belonging(3) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Fantasy play(1) Xbox(1) Brain(1) Funding(1) ReCreate(2) community(5) Settling in(4) stories(2) Competent(1) Self-regulation(1) Easter(1) Sleep(1) Weather(1) Communicating(1) ERASMUS+(3) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Reggio(1) Early Years(1) Engagement(1) Educators(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Maternity Leave(1) CIT(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) mushrooms(1) EM Standing(1) TRAP(1) Teamwork(1) outdoor space(3) Afghanistan(1) early years research(1) risk(2) First 5 strategy(1) Workplace well-being(1) Map(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) RTE Investigates(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Laugh(1) Flowers(1) early childhood educator(1) Montessori(2) Storytelling(2) Mark Twain(1) San Minia(1) Frustrations(1) Decisions(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Playdough(1) Builders(1) Maynooth University(1) Little Buddies(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Interests(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Games(1) GDPR(1) Academics(1) Our Little Seed(1) Anxiety(2) Decision Making(1) Relaxation(1) scéalta(27) Sustainable(1) christmas(8) Community involvement(1) SPICE Framework(1) Celebrations(4) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Mantra(1) College(1) Magic(1) DCYA(4) Loss(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Consent(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Albert Einstein(1) Giraffe(2) Snakes(1) animals(2) Mayo(1) Laughter(1) Masterclass(2) Diversity(1) Engineering(2) Pobal(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Gratitude(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Seas Suas(1) Visitors(1) Reflective Practice(1) ECEC(1) Exit interview(1) Identity and Belonging(4) The Lullaby Book(1) experience(1) Glitter(2) Mealtimes(1) Whole Group(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Children's Research Network(1) UD(1) grandchild(1) Inclusion(3) Dance(1) Cognitive development(1) role playing(1) Magnavacchi(1) Love(2) Traditions(2) supportive environments(2) Drawing(2) Capable(1) eating(1) Arlene Forster(1) listening(1) Human Resources(1) Síolta QAP(1) planning(1) Wilenski(1) pets(1) Smiles(1) parents(5) Through the looking glass(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) National Awards 2019(1) Thank you(1) Leadership(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Book Club(2) Aistear(108) TOY Programme(1) Nutrition(1) Snack Time(1) Mindfulness(2) Oireachtas(1) Design(1) linc(1) Plants(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Child mental health(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Frosty the Snowman(1) Care-giving routines(1) Childcare(2) Workplace Relations(3) Facebook(1) Sequins(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) NCCA(2) Halloween(2) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Time(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) RIE philosphy(1) child-centred approach(1) Family wall(1) ECCE(6) Jenga(1) Treasure Chest(1) Sport(1) educating(1) interacting(2) Intention(1) MA(1) Imagination(3) San Miniato(4) Exclusion(1) Independence(1) Vietnam(1) Arts(1) Vertical grouping(1) curiosity(3) Research Seminar(1) Nuturing interactions(1) University(1) Window(1) Self Help Skills(1) baby room(1) Craft(1) ICBN(1) blog(28) Awards(2) Technology(2) Change(1) Blocks(1) Investment(2) Autism(3) Graduation(1) Professionalisation(4) Shoes(1) Wrapping paper(1) food(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Positivity(1) Names(1) Thinking(1) dining(1) Bereavement(1) babies(7) emotional environment(1) educarer(1) Environment(2) Policy(2) Routines(1) Breathing(2) routine(2) Adoption(1) environments(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Summer(1) New Appointments(1) ears(1) Empathy(1) Twitter(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Ceremony(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) learning(15) Maria Montessori(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Leprechauns(1) Support(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Eritrea(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Orla Kenny(1) Learning journals(1) Winter(1) Engineers Week(2) Affordability(1) Workforce(1) Maths(4) Administrative Burden(1) Patterns(1) meals(3) Horizon 2020(1) Traffic Lights(1) Staff Motivation(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Communications(1) Mental Health(3) Kilkenny(1) reading(5) Treasure(1) Photographs(1) Mathematicians(1) communication(4) Biting(1) HR(1) Identity(5) overhear(1) Childhood(1) Appreciation(1) Light table(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Titles(1) maternity health(1) under 3's(3) Participation(1) The Jelly King(1) MECPI(1) Learning Story(1) trust(3) outdoor play(6) Pen green(1) Care routines(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Running(1) Art(6) outdoors(3) Quality(4) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Celebrate(1) Social Skills(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Visual Impairment(1) Body Language(1) Obesity(1) Iraq(1) worries(1) dogs(1) Story(1) journey(1) Lego(2) Snacks(1) Training(2) Line-ups(1) Touch(1) Sustainability(3) conversations(1) Budget 2020(1) Awards 2019(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Penguins(1) Trick or treat(1) Mixed age groups(2) Interactions(2) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) social media(1) Scéalta Blog(87) collaboration(1) Children's Rights(2) Syria(1) AsIAm(1) Well-Being(8) Mount Everest(1) Inspirational(2) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Online(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Siolta blog(2) Wesco(1) Rituals(1) United Nations(1) Trade Unions(1) Primary School(2) Trade union(1) Role play(1) Party(1) Malaguzzi(1) Thanks(1) value(1) Stress(2) Prexit(1) purpose(1) Nonverbal(1) Valentine's Day(3) Queues(1) Irish(1) books(4) Cork Institute of Technology(1) preschool(2) Qualifications(1) play(30) First 5(1) feisty(1) risk assessment(1) respect(5) Síolta(105) UN(1) Upcycling(1) Maths Week(1) European Project(1) friendships(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Challenges(1) transitions(10) Home Corner(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) STEM(2) Creative(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Time Out(1) Certificate(1) Culture(2) science(3) Fabric(1) Exploring(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Kerry(1) Sculptures(1) National Holiday(1) Santa(2) development(8) Yoga(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) science week(2) Study Trip(1) research(6) Grief(1) Budget 2018(1) Limerick(1) Kids Own(1) memories(1) Favouritism(1) Employee(1) Recycling(2) Annual Conference 2017(2) Supernanny(1) Inter-generational(1) Liz Kerrins(1) listen(1) Potential(1) dining experiences(1) Margy Whalley(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Leargas(1) documentation(2) Exercise(1) Gardening(1) Recycle(1) INTO(1) Wonder(1) Magda Gerber(1) Meet the Members(1) Event Guide(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Sweets(1) IGL(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Italy(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Health(1) Scents(1) Buddy Bench(1) Confident(1) Meal time(1) Arithmetic(1) National Pyjama Day(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) UNCRC(1) toddlers(3) budget(1) Confidence(1) Impact(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine