Unit­ing old and young

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

Anew monthly ‘play­date’ at Na­timuk Nurs­ing Home is bring­ing to­gether older and younger gen­er­a­tions to share ex­pe­ri­ences and help en­hance chil­dren’s so­cial and early learning skills.

Play-date in­sti­ga­tor, Na­timuk doc­tor Kate Gra­ham, said she first thought about the po­ten­tial of an in­ter­gen­er­a­tional get-to­gether through in­ter­ac­tion with her own chil­dren.

“I no­ticed the ef­fect that bring­ing my own chil­dren on ward rounds had for the res­i­dents and I had read about many res­i­den­tial care fa­cil­i­ties that were in­cor­po­rat­ing play­groups and child­care on­site,” she said.

“While Na­timuk Nurs­ing Home has al­ways been in­volved with school and kinder visits, we thought having the op­por­tu­nity to have younger chil­dren in­volved was a way to ex­tend the en­gage­ment be­tween res­i­dents and the com­mu­nity to re­duce iso­la­tion for both res­i­dents and new par­ents, many of whom might not have close fam­ily nearby.

“The pos­i­tive im­pact of in­ter­gen­er­a­tional play on re­duc­ing iso­la­tion for the Na­timuk res­i­dents and also the age range of the ac­tiv­ity from birth to 102 is pretty amaz­ing from any per­spec­tive.”

Dr Gra­ham said the idea be­came a re­al­ity after she joined forces with Hor­sham Ru­ral City Coun­cil play­group fa­cil­i­ta­tor Ali Briggs-miller.

“It was a co­in­ci­dence that Ali was set­ting up a sup­ported play­group at Na­timuk at the same time,” she said.

“We have been lucky to be sup­ported by money from the Ru­ral Ac­cess Quick Win grants pro­gram through the Hor­sham coun­cil and a play­group start-up grant through Play­groups Aus­tralia.”

Na­timuk Play­date ses­sions will be at the nurs­ing home on the first Thurs­day of the month, dur­ing school terms, from 10am to 11.30am.

On the re­main­ing Thurs­days, Na­timuk Play­group will run at Na­timuk Pri­mary School from 10am to 11.45am.

Mrs Briggs-miller said both ses­sions fo­cused on fun, con­nec­tions and help­ing chil­dren to learn and grow.

She said the play date in­volved chil­dren up to five years of age and their par­ents or car­ers at­tend­ing the nurs­ing home for a ‘play, chat and morn­ing snack’ with res­i­dents.

“We had our first play-date ses­sion last week and it went re­ally well,” she said.

“We had five fam­i­lies come along and the kids seemed to re­spond re­ally well to the en­vi­ron­ment.

“A lot of the older peo­ple were sur­prised to see so many of the songs and nurs­ery rhymes were still the same.”

Mrs Briggs-miller said the Na­timuk Play­group evolved from a need for a play­group ser­vice in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s west.

“Kate had suc­cess­fully ap­plied for some grants and we were able to link in with her and sup­port her vi­sion,” she said.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited about the new play­group and play dates, which we ex­pect to have a wealth of ben­e­fits across gen­er­a­tions.”

Peo­ple can call Mrs Briggs-miller on 0427 532 856 or mes­sage Hor­sham Play­groups on Face­book for more in­for­ma­tion.

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