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Title: Children’s perceptions of elders before and after a school-based intergenerational program

Author (s):  Stephanie Bales, Susan Eklund, Catherine Siffin

Abstract:  The Learning and Growing Together intergenerational (IG) program was developed to bring often-separated groups of young and old together and foster relationships and understanding between the generations. Classes included a second-grade World War II class, a fourth-grade intergenerational chorus, and a fifth-grade careers class. To evaluate the impact of the program, students in the three classes were asked to provide descriptors of "old people" before and after contact with elders in the IG program. Results indicated that in the second and fourth grades, significant increases were found in the number of positive words used to describe old people, as well as a decrease in the number of negative words used. Significant differences were not found in the number of words used to describe old people in the fifth grade, which had considerably less contact with elders compared to the other two classes. In a second study, fourth-grade student journals were analyzed for recurring themes. Analysis revealed four themes consistent with program goals of narrowing the generation gap and fostering positive relationships between young and old. Overall, the findings of the two studies point to the benefits of intergenerational programs for youth and elders.

Category: Perceptions of Aging

Keywords: Attitudinal change, perceptions of aging, intergenerational programming, attitudes toward the elderly, children’s attitudes, cross-age interaction, school-based

Reference: Bales, S.S., Eklund, S.J., & Siffin, C.F. (2000).  Children’s perceptions of elders before and after a school-based intergenerational program.  Educational Gerontology, 26, 677-689.

Peer-reviewed journal: yes

Link to Full Texthttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03601270050200662#preview

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