Lifelong learning – new competences for seniors

Dec 7, 2022

Passing on knowledge to younger generations is one element of society’s development. In Poland, Turkey, Slovenia and Ireland, training courses are being held for seniors to prepare them to teach children and to act as ambassadors for the Senior Friendly School campaign. Through this initiative, seniors develop their knowledge and become involved in the local community.

Joint actions, joint content

A team of educators from the partner countries has developed a common training programme. During workshops in all project countries, future senior trainers learn, among other things, about the principles and techniques of running a group and electronic tools they can use with children. Our programme promoters, on the other hand, learn the ins and outs of communication and how to implement campaigns and cooperate with schools.

Both training courses feature the recently very popular topic of storytelling, or storytelling. It allows seniors working with children to build engaging, emotional, short, but content-rich and message-bearing stories that will stay in children’s memories for a long time. Ambassadors of the Senior Friendly Schools campaign can use storytelling in their discussions with school principals.

Experiences from abroad

The prepared training programme is divided into parts, which educators can adapt to their chosen training objectives and put together the programme for a specific training course like a jigsaw puzzle.

During a training course for senior trainers in Turkey, held at ELHEM – an educational organisation from Elmadag near Ankara, selected classroom techniques, methods of identifying students’ needs, creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom were introduced. The seniors also practised methods of classroom organisation, communication techniques and motivating students.

In Slovenia, the classes were held as part of the Third Age University there. “The population of the whole of Europe is ageing. This has huge consequences in our community as well. All generations must adapt to the changes. Intergenerational cooperation, integration and solidarity are an indispensable condition for the coexistence of generations.” – comments programme coordinator in Slovenia Tanja Vrčkovnik.  “When starting the training programme, the seniors from Trebnje were happy to go back to school again after the pandemic period.” – she adds.

Training in Poland

MANKO organised training sessions on 14 and 19 September at the association’s headquarters in Kraków.

The training for the Ambassadors was attended by 17 senior citizens from Krakow and the surrounding municipalities, whose schools have decided to participate in the programme. These include Iwanowice, Biecz, Libiąż, Skawina and Kamionka Wielka.

The Malopolska Ambassadors of the Senior Friendly Schools campaign learned about the details of the programme’s implementation, the principles for establishing and building relationships with schools and promoting the initiative in schools.

“We don’t like it when someone comes along and tries to sell us something, convincing us of the benefits of a product. That’s why we raised the topic of storytelling with the project’s future ambassadors. We know that the Senior Friendly School programme is a win-win – for schools, seniors, children and the local community – and through stories the ambassadors will be able to communicate this. It is a method of creating relationships based on trust and shared values. The stories will make it easier to get in touch and maintain relations with the school management, and cooperation will become easier,” – says trainer Joanna Zwolińska.

A total of 120 seniors from the four partner countries are expected to participate in the training programme, and 60 schools will host activities as part of the Senior Friendly School campaign.