Bringing old and young together through intergenerational French lessons

A fantastic new scheme at the Abbeyfield Hoylake and West Kirby Society is alleviating loneliness and forming special new bonds, all while helping young children and older residents learn a new language.

A fantastic new scheme at the Abbeyfield Hoylake and West Kirby Society is alleviating loneliness and forming special new bonds, all while helping young children and older residents learn a new language.  

Run by Barbara at Chouette French for Children, these intergenerational language learning sessions see nursery children and their parents coming into our Lear House care home in West Kirby to learn French through playing music, singing songs, and doing fun arts and crafts.

“The first four years are when children’s brains are at their most receptive to language learning, so it makes sense to introduce French lessons at the same time as they are acquiring English,” says Barbara, who is thrilled at how well the first few sessions have gone.

“The children understand through gestures and repeat simple phrases. The residents may not say much in French at first, but they’ll certainly have fun and probably start to recall their High School French!”

It's proved to be a fantastic way to bring the generations together, and so far the sessions been thoroughly enjoyed by the children, parents and residents alike.

“It’s something a bit different,” said Helen Nile, Activities Coordinator for Abbeyfield Hoylake and West Kirby Society.

“The residents enjoy the music and working on craft things together. Primarily though, what they love is the contact with the children. They all enjoy that.”

Toddler and older lady learning french together

The benefits of intergenerational activities

These sessions have been introduced following the growing evidence that suggests bringing children and older people together has a number of health and wellbeing benefits.

Studies have shown that bridging the gap between generations helps to reduce ageism, stereotyping and improve the likelihood of intergenerational friendships throughout life. It’s also been shown to alleviate loneliness, isolation and depression in older adults.

“There’s so many benefits for both young and old,” said Barbara “the children just relaxed into it and of course the older ladies are delighted. The parents are really supportive too.”

This fantastic scheme at Lear House is still in its infancy, but with such a positive response already, we can’t wait to see how it will evolve in the future!


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