Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Volume 9 Issue 2, April 2011
The Meadows School Project: A Unique Intergenerational "Immersion" Program
SHARON L. MACKENZIE, BA, MEd
i2i Intergenerational Society of Canada, British Columbia, Canada
ARLENE J. CARSON, PhD and VALERIE S. KUEHNE, PhD
University of Victoria, Victoria BC, Canada
THE MEADOWS SCHOOL PROJECT: BACKGROUND, RATIONALE AND GOALS
The Meadows School ProjectTM (MSP) started in 2000 in the rural community of Coldstream in south-central British Columbia (BC), Canada. This unique intergenerational "immersion" project is the brainchild of a long-tenured public-school teacher for whom community-based learning is a guiding philosophy. After many years of taking her students for brief visits with older adults in the community, this teacher was discouraged. Communication between the generations seemed restrained and lacking in empathy. The potential for generations to learn from one another was rarely realized in these occasional, short, and contrived visits. She wished to bring students and older adults into more purposeful and meaningful contact.
Working with administrative staff from BC School District 22 and the Coldstream Meadows Retirement Community residential care facility, this teacher gained approval to relocate her upper-level elementary class to a makeshift classroom in this assisted living facility for multiple week blocks, first in the fall term (five weeks over October–November) and later (starting in the 2003–04 year) in both the fall term and for an additional three weeks in May. Reciprocal visits were made between care home and school every few weeks during the balance of the school year. During their tenure at the facility, students followed their mandated school curriculum while interlocking their daily calendar with that of the residents, meeting with interested older adults twice each day in a small group or two-students-to-one-resident format. The project goals were to: (a) break down stereotypical thinking of both generations about the other; (b) improve the mental, physical, and social health of all parties, including staff and families; (c) build understanding of the "modern culture" through students sharing with older adults; (d) give opportunities for young people to develop interest in pursuing careers that involve working with older adults; (e) give students authentic opportunities to develop personal and social responsibility through daily involvement with older adults and public service at the seniors' residence; and (f) have older adults share knowledge with students.
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Author Posting. © MacKenzie, Sharon L., Carson, Arlene J. and Kuehne, Valerie S.(2011) 'The Meadows School Project: A Unique Intergenerational "Immersion" Program', Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 9: 2, 207 — 212, 2011.
This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of 'MacKenzie, Sharon L. , Carson, Arlene J. and Kuehne, Valerie S.(2011) 'The Meadows School Project: A Unique Intergenerational "Immersion" Program', Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 9: 2, 207 — 212' for personal use, not for redistribution.
The definitive version was published in Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Volume 9 Issue 2, April 2011.