Playroom unites generations

Article image - Playroom unites generations Participants enjoying the Intergenerational Playroom.

An ‘Intergenerational Playroom’ in Bega Valley Shire Council in New South Wales is bringing pre-schoolers and the elderly together to play, learn and create.

Smiles light up well-worn faces and young hands mingle with old – there’s something special happening at Bega Valley Shire Council’s Tura Marrang Library and Community Centre.

In collaboration with Tura Beach resident Hayley Reynolds, Council’s Library Service has created the first Intergenerational Playroom in the southeast New South Wales region.

The Playroom is for pre-schoolers, elderly residents and their caregivers to share time together and take part in a range of activities, such as craft, games, sensory activities and stories in a vibrant and inclusive space.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to build connections in our communities between our oldest residents and our youngest,” said Scott Baker, Programs and Partnerships Officer at Council.

“People of all ages have something to give and the first two Playroom sessions have demonstrated the joy and value these two generations create and give to each other.”

It’s an ideal partnership where the library provides a dedicated space, craft materials and promotion, whilst Ms Reynolds volunteers her time and expertise as a qualified Early Childhood Educator with experience in diversional therapy. Ms Reynolds facilitates the Playroom, which takes place one morning a month, with a different theme each time.

Similar programs, both in Australia and overseas, have shown that these interactions give the elderly therapeutic benefits and offer children unique learning opportunities.

Older participants benefit from a sense of normalcy, enhanced feelings of wellbeing and an increased sense of self-worth.

Scott Baker, Programs and Partnerships Officer said that some children don’t have regular contact with the elderly and likewise some elderly have no family living nearby, so the Playroom performs a valuable role in the community.

“The Playroom breaks down the barriers between generations to benefit our whole community,” he said.