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Ageless education: Researchers create guide for intergenerational classrooms at nursing homes
Date:7/25/2012

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- A Kansas State University researcher and writing team are developing ways for nursing home residents and elementary school students to learn in a shared setting: an intergenerational classroom.

Stephanie Gfeller, research assistant and instructor with the College of Human Ecology's Center on Aging, has recently published a guidebook -- "Uniting Wonder With Wisdom, An Intergenerational Classroom Replication Guide" -- outlining ways to create a successful intergenerational program involving nursing home residents and kindergarten and preschool students. Others at Kansas State University involved include: Gayle Doll, director of the Center on Aging; Jane Marshall, communications coordinator of the College of Human Ecology; and Mary Hammel, associate director for creative service in the College of Education.

The guidebook emphasizes a program with a profound purpose: To integrate the school setting and nursing home setting into an environment where both children and nursing home residents can benefit from each other.

"By bringing elders and children together, it gives elders a renewed sense of purpose, a sense of value and a role again in our society," Gfeller said. "It gives these children the opportunity to develop academically, but it's amazing to see the social development that occurs when the children are interacting with the elders."

The project began when Gfeller was evaluating an existing intergenerational classroom for kindergarteners and residents at Windsor Place nursing home in Coffeyville, Kan. The project became a way for Gfeller to create a replication guide for the intergenerational classroom so that other interested parties had the key pieces to create an intergenerational program. Gfeller met with two other nursing homes -- Grace Living Center in Jenks, Okla., and Windsor Place in Iola, Kan. -- that had existing intergenerational classrooms for kindergarteners and preschool students.


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Contact: Stephanie Gfeller
sgfeller@k-state.edu
785-532-5945
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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