When I am a grown up, I want to work in a big house like where Pam lives. Then, all the old people will always have a friend and will never be lonely.
Brooke-Bailey, Aged 3
Over the past six weeks we have met weekly with our care home friends. We’ve played games together, sung songs together, danced together, painted together and created some unforgettable memories that will stay with us forever.
Since the project begun in July so many people have asked me: “Do the children enjoy it?” and “Are they scared?” Honestly speaking, I think we were all sceptical at first. Of course, there was uncertainty about how the children would react and what was in store for our hour-long sessions, but we are now six weeks into this amazing experience and none of us want it to end!
As an Early Years teacher, the sessions we’ve had so far have provided me with more experience than I could have gained from any other long-term plan or focused adult-led session. What I’ve seen unfold at Little Pips over the past six weeks has been spontaneous, fun and rewarding for everyone involved; the nursery, children and staff.
Seeing the three and four-year olds show kindness, empathy and generosity at such an early age is very touching.
Like many leaders I can often get caught up in the day-to-day running of the nursery, and miss out on the ‘fun stuff’ perhaps, but weekly I find myself watching the resident sessions – I can’t pull myself away! Tuesdays have become our favourite day of our week at Little Pips! The team count down the hours until the children’s friends arrive each week. Our parents are on board too. Their support is very important to us. They’ve been taking time out to bake treats to share with our residents and children and are keen to organise weekend visits to the care home with their children too. One child here at Little Pips told her key-person: ‘I think I should visit Pam’s house with my mummy, Pam says no one goes to see her at her house and that makes me feel sad’.
This week I observed as a 91-year-old resident, walk the 50 metres from the minibus into our session supported by two of our Nursery children holding his hands, encouraging him along. A pre-school child told him: ‘Well done Gordon, you’re doing so well’.
He left his wheelchair at the door and spent the entire session mobile, chatting to the children, and telling stories of his late wife. A member of staff from Immacolata, was ecstatic.
It’s just amazing to think my group of children were part of making this special moment happen and I couldn’t be prouder.
Personally, I think the care sector get a rather rough time in the press and from the public too, and this project has taught me that our roles are not dissimilar. The carers that accompanied residents on this project have many of the characteristics that I look for when employing staff. They are kind, patient, enthusiastic and they are passionate about their job and the people they care for.
My top tip for anyone considering embarking on a project like ours with Immacolata House would be to go for it! Approach your local care homes today and get this rewarding journey started. I am left totally inspired by what we are all achieving here at Little Pips and we are looking forward to helping Immacolata House with their plans to develop a room for their residents to play and explore just as they have done here at our nursery. We also can’t wait to start our new weekly visits to the care home with our children!
Ideal activities include: singing, dancing, painting and crafts, Duplo/Construction, play-doh, providing wooden food items such as fruit and vegetables, tea cups and saucers and little cakes so that the children can make tea. We also had illuminated writing panels for writing names and messages to each other and to draw with.