More and more schools, not only in our country, are joining the international Senior Friendly School programme. This is part of the Seniors for Education project, which is also being implemented in Turkey, Slovenia and Ireland.
First certification in Ireland
The knowledge and experience of senior citizens has been recognised in Kilnamanagh. Hazel Nicols, a mum of two sons representing project partner I&F, presented Bróna Kennedy, headteacher of Kilnamanagh Community National School in North Wexford, with Ireland’s first Senior Friendly School certificate.
“It’s about breaking down intergenerational barriers. We want older people, who are part of our community, to share their knowledge with the students of our school. We also want to remind them how important they are to us and to the younger generation through their life experience,” explains Hazel.
As in the rest of the country, the school will host workshops for children led by senior citizens. The headmistress of the school does not hide her excitement about the initiative.
“We feel committed to working with the seniors in our community. We encourage intergenerational cooperation and hope to learn a lot. We believe that participating in this campaign will enrich our community of residents, knowing the benefits that come from such cooperation. We are delighted to be pioneering this initiative. ” – comments Kennedy.
Farmer and gnome
“I was greeted by 19 students and two teachers. I told the students the story of the farmer and the gnome (a mythical Irish creature). We talked about the story afterwards and discussed the characters of the story’s bystanders.” – recalls Barbara Murray, who taught the children at the school in Kilnamanagh.
Afterwards, the children were also given pictures of different characters to become their pets. They coloured them and gave them names, and later discussed their characteristics in class. At the end, the kids heard another funny story with a positive message.
Everyone had a great time, according to the ambassador of the Senior Friendly School Programme in Ireland. The meetings won’t end there – she has been invited to more meetings. She can come back whenever she wants.
“I’ve had amazing contact with the children and tremendous support from the teachers. I’m happy to be an ambassador for just such a project, because I can see how much joy it brings to everyone involved,” – concludes the senior.
The Senior Friendly School programme implements a similar approach in all partner countries. Seniors trained under the project are expected to conduct at least two workshops with children in participating schools, building on their knowledge and experience. Many schools choose to hold additional events – a School Senior Day or intergenerational competitions. We already have more than 45 schools, and there will be even more!