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Title: School-Based Intergenerational Programs: Laying the Foundations for Sustainability

Author (s):  Susan Feldman, Helen Mahoney, Terence Seedsman

Abstract:  This paper focuses on experiences learned from being involved in the development of a sustainable school-based intergenerational program that simultaneously incorporated lifespan education into a Grade 2-3-4 curriculum. The program operated in an Australian primary school. A model was developed through this initiative that involved a tripartite collaborative partnership between school, university educators, and the primary school community (in particular its older adults). Older adult volunteers from the school’s community were invited to teach students. Program monitoring consisted of contextual and observational analysis ensuring the program was sensitive to school culture and took account of participants’ experiences. This monitoring process occurred throughout the planning, development, and implementation stages. Although school educators were always pressed for time, all participants actively contributed to the program. All of the educators saw purpose and worth in having the program. Ongoing support from teachers, the principal, and university personnel plus the provision of additional resources contributed to high student involvement and the overall success of the initiative. Having a school-based coordinator was found to be necessary, yet, for school educators, problematic because of constraints on their time. The findings from this project indicate that the older adult volunteers were enriched by their involvement in the program and able to provide meaningful learning experiences for students. As well, the study suggests that educators would be better prepared for implementing this area of learning opportunities if lifespan education were provided in their undergraduate and post-graduate courses as well as in professional development initiatives.

Category: Education

Keywords: Context monitoring, lifespan curriculum, intergenerational programming, school-based, older volunteers

Reference: Feldman, S., Mahoney, H., Seedsman, T. (2003). School-Based Intergenerational Programs: Laying the Foundations for Sustainability. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 1(2): 47-64.

Peer-reviewed journal: yes

Link to Full Texthttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J194v01n02_05

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