Seattle Retirement Community's Pre-School Education Program Benefits Young and Old Alike

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The Intergenerational Children's Center located at Seattle's Bayview Retirement Community brings seniors and children together for a mutual transformational experience.

As thoughts turn to the approaching school year, parents begin considering programs for their pre-school aged children. With many options available, Seattle retirement community, Bayview Manor, offers a unique opportunity to bring children and seniors together in their specially designed Intergenerational Children's Center. Designed to benefit both residents and pre-schoolers, the Center's main goal is to build a stronger connection between young and old through positive community interaction.

Bayview's Children's Center is for children between the ages of three months and five years, and is specifically designed to be, as Director of Intergenerational Child Care Jackie Schooley puts it, "child-centered and child-sized." With a spacious indoor playground and secure outdoor play area, the Children's Center is set up as a comfortable and fun place for children to learn and play, complete with smaller bathroom fixtures, classroom shelves and climbing equipment.

With an approach to early childhood education that values curiosity and exploration, the Children's Center uses both spontaneous and planned events to rediscover a child's joy of interacting with "grandmas and grandpas."

This can have a positive effect on children, seniors and society as a whole in three major ways:

  •     Fostering a positive attitude towards age and disability in children. By identifying aging as a normal and accepted part of life, children can be taught at an early age a sensitivity and respect for the elderly. As families have spread out across the country, this intergenerational relationship has undoubtedly suffered.
  •     Helping seniors to feel valued and connected to the community. Aging should not be focused solely on the waning of senses and abilities. Wisdom and understanding are cumulative experiences that can and should be passed on, fundamentally altering how seniors see themselves in these modern times.
  •     Realizing the value of the entire community through raising children together and caring for their elderly together. Dispelling ideas of how and when members of a modern society are deemed productive by expanding the role of seniors and their contributions, thereby increasing compassion and understanding.

The Bayview Intergenerational Children's Center can serve up to 42 children and are open Monday thru Friday from 7:00am to 6:00pm.

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Jackie Schooley
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