The Connection Club is the first intergenerational club on the Peninsula to bridge the gap between generations and reduce social isolation among seniors.
The importance of intergenerational connections cannot be overstated. Children and seniors alike benefit from social interaction and companionship, especially in a world where social isolation is becoming more common.
“It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, however over the years for many children this ‘village’ no longer exists... We are bringing back the village.”
The Connection Club, a community partnership between Sesame Lane Care & Kindergarten and Encircle Limited, is the first intergenerational club on the Peninsula to bridge the gap between generations and reduce social isolation among seniors.
The Connection Club is an initiative that provides an opportunity for seniors to engage with young children in their emerging social-learning phase while also enhancing intergenerational connections within the community. Seniors can feel more connected through planned, mutually beneficial activities and programs and provide much needed socialisation and stimulation. At the same time, children can learn essential skills such as empathy, cooperation, sharing, turn-taking, and making connections to different points of view, ideas, and opinions.
To become a member of The Connection Club, senior individuals apply through Encircle, undergo an interview for suitability, and obtain a Working with Children Blue Card. Encircle’s Older Person’s Action Program Co-ordinator, Nicci George, said this should not discourage people from getting involved.
“We work directly with those interested in becoming a Senior Member of the club, guiding them through the eligibility process every step of the way.” said Nicci.
Once a week, senior members of the club are welcomed into Sesame Lane, where they meet with the kindergarten class of around 15-20 children. The school-zone hall on site is used to enhance the wellbeing of all club members.
The children often prepare, bringing biscuits and slices they have baked in the childcare centre the day before. The goal is to facilitate social bonding and encourage engagement in a variety of enjoyable activities for both groups, including things like art and craft, ball games, story reading, cooking experiences, and sharing morning tea.
“It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, however over the years for many children this ‘village’ no longer exists,” said Sesame Lane Educational Mentor, Mandy Alborn. “We are bringing back the village.”
The Connection Club has been successfully meeting weekly for over twelve months, and the social benefits for both seniors and juniors have been profound. This time was seen as a 'pilot' period, with Sesame Lane and Encircle Ltd jointly hosting an official launch event on March 22, 2023.
The launch event showcased The Connection Club's success and educated seniors, parents, and community members on how they can learn more about the benefits of intergenerational connections and support the initiative.
The Connection Club is just one example of how community partnerships can positively impact the social and emotional wellbeing of the community. We can create a more connected and compassionate community by providing opportunities for social bonding, empathy, and understanding between generations.
To find out more about Seniors Membership, contact Nicci George, Older Person’s Action Program Co-ordinator, Encircle Community Services via phone 0401 098 377, or email email@example.com.
To find out more about Kindergarten Membership, contact Conor Anderson, Kippa Ring Anzac Avenue Service Manager, Sesame Lane Care & Kindergarten via phone 3480 8030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org