A group of preschool children and those living in aged care in Port Macquarie are going to be taking part in a new inter-generational playgroup.
Centacare Mid North Coast (MNC) and Catholic Care of the Aged have partnered to provide free, weekly inter-generational playgroups for the community.
Centacare Mid North Coast and Catholic Care of the Aged are part of St Agnes’ Parish Port Macquarie.
The concept was sparked from the recent ABC TV documentary ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ but Centacare MNC community services manager Don Mackenzie said the benefits of inter-generational playgroup programs have been felt for over a decade.
“Our inter-generational playgroup brings three generations together, but with the same evidence-based goals of health and well-being.
“Inter-generational playgroups are particularly well-received by residents who do not have relatives or family nearby, encouraging connections and companionship that span across generations.”
Mr Mackenzie said there are numerous benefits to residents in aged care who take part in the playgroups including improved memory and mood, social engagement, motor skills and increased physical strength, parent-child interactions as well as a chance to recall their experiences as a child or with parenting their own children.
“Children get a lot out of the program too as early childhood is a critical and sensitive period for their social emotional learning,” he said.
“They are beginning to develop their speech and language skills through interactions with older adults and become more confident and comfortable in establishing connections with people of different ages and outside their immediate family group.
“It becomes a meaningful activity for children, parents and residents alike.”
The new inter-generational playgroup is called Come Yarn and Play and will be based at Maryknoll in Lochnivar Place.
The first meeting will be on October 18 and will begin after the success of the parish’s Community Connections program, which has brought together residents from St Agnes’ Hostel with children from St Agnes Early Education Centre for over 11 years.
Mr Mackenzie said the new playgroup will meet in a child-friendly space where fun and creative learning activities are provided including: play-based games; outdoor excursions and discoveries; story-telling; art and craft; and music and dance.
The playgroup will run every Friday from 10.30 am-12 pm.
Book your spot or find out more information about the playgroup by contacting Centacare on 6581 6800 or connect via Centacare Mid North Coast’s Facebook page.