The Learning Center is a pretty special place. The preschool and children's day care center emphasizes experiential learning, complete with magical places to play in such as a treehouse library and tug boat.
Opened in 1996 and located at The Palms of Largo campus in Largo, Florida, The Learning Center is dedicated to creating opportunities for intergenerational learning and friendship.
Children from eight weeks through five years of age receive quality child care services from a team that is committed to nurturing each child in their care. The intergenerational activities bring mixed age groups together to share experiences, knowledge, and skills that are mutually beneficial and promote positive relationships.
At The Learning Center, kids get the opportunity to interact with seniors from the community each day. These seniors have elected to volunteer their time to be with the youngsters. They’re able to help with reading or other academic subjects, as well as join in with any number of play activities. It’s a wonderful way for the generations to interact and learn from each other.
The children grow accustomed to seeing many of their “grandfriends”, as they like to call them, using walkers, canes, or wheelchairs. This gives teachers the opportunity to explain what those devices are and how they help seniors. It is a great opportunity to show kids that there’s nothing to be afraid of or uncomfortable about.
THE STORY OF MR. BILL
Mr. Bill is a prime example of how impactful intergenerational relationships can be. Bill was a regular volunteer at The Learning Center. He attended the children’s classes often enough for them to be accustomed to him dropping in on a regular basis. One day, Mr. Bill had family matters to attend to and was unable to make it to class. This caused chaos among the children.
The teacher at the time shared, “They missed him so terribly that when he came back, they said, ‘Oh, Mr. Bill we thought you got fired!’ They were really broken up.”
Touched, Mr. Bill continued coming in to volunteer regularly and if he ever planned on missing a day, he made sure to tell the kids beforehand. Eventually, Mr. Bill’s grandchildren began to attend The Learning Center–yet another reason for him to continue stopping by!
It’s a sweet story that emphasizes the value and importance of the type of intergenerational programs that senior living communities managed by The Goodman Group provide. Seniors’ families at The Palms of Largo are also able to get involved. The Learning Center sponsors a multi-cultural fair, art shows, and other community events throughout the year that support and foster the intergenerational philosophy of the community. Check out their website to learn more about The Learning Center and how you can get involved.