Project sees elderly residents form special bonds with nursery children

intergenerational project newbyres

Elderly residents of one of our care homes are forging very special bonds with children from a local nursery in an intergenerational project, just like the Channel 4 documentary, Old People’s Home for Four-Year-Olds.

The children have weekly visits to Newbyres Village Care Home

 Every week, two staff members from Newbyres Nursery take a small group of 3-4-year-olds to Newbyres Village Care Home in Gorebridge. There the children join the residents in group activities including indoor sports, crafts, baking and singing.

"Incredible bonds have been forged"

The owner of the nursery, Mel Scrimgeour says: “The project started in September 2016. It wasn’t long before we realised that we had started something very special.

 “Incredible bonds have been forged between children who in other situations can find interaction difficult, and elderly residents who seem to come alive with the breath of fresh air that the children bring to Newbyres Village each week.

The children are calmed

“Their memory for everyday tasks may be waning, but suddenly they are brought back to the days that they looked after their own small children, reciting nursery rhymes and songs word for word that they may not have recalled for many, many years. The children are naturally calmed by the lovely environment at the care home, and are respectful and understanding of their elderly friends.

Intergenerational projects build relationships and understanding

 As shown in the Channel 4 documentary, which sees pre-schoolers swap their nursery for a nursing home as they join a group of pensioners at St Monica’s care home for six weeks, intergenerational projects build relationships and understanding between those who live and learn in the same community, but may not have opportunities to get together.

 In the documentary, the residents are monitored by health care experts as part of the social experiment. The social interaction seems to have beneficial effects not just on the residents’ wellbeing but also their mobility.

The Gorebridge residents are benefitting

The Gorebridge residents and children too are reaping rewards thanks to the special relationship.

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for adult services, Councillor Derek Milligan said: “It is important that care home residents continue to have opportunities to engage with the wider community. This project provides something very different from what is provided within a care home. It is a wonderful opportunity for older people and children to engage with each other and have fun.”

The children's motor skills and turn taking improve

 Mel Scrimgeour said the activities also help the children improve their motor skills and turn taking.

She says: “We are able to cover many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence, and obtain quality observations of the children’s learning and progress from our visits.

“We plan to continue and develop our weekly trips to Newbyres Village.”

Comments by the children and residents

 Some of the children’s comments about the project:

“I like making things with the people who live there”

“I like playing tennis with a balloon!”

“I like seeing the people and singing songs”


Some of the residents’ comments:

“The children make me happy when I see them”

“It takes you back to when our children were that size”

“They are always doing something different, I enjoy seeing their happy faces”





10 Aug 2017