Early years settings invited to take part in trial of intergenerational art project

Katy Morton
Friday, April 22, 2022

An initiative that links young children with care home residents to share pictures with each other is being extended to early years settings to coincide with next week’s Global Intergenerational Week (25 April - 1 May).

Crafting Connections aims to bring young children and older adults together through the creation of artworks PHOTO Crafting Connections
Crafting Connections aims to bring young children and older adults together through the creation of artworks PHOTO Crafting Connections

Crafting Connections, which was launched in March to parents, is now being widened out to all early years settings, starting with a trial of five childcare providers. Those selected for the trial will be expected to share feedback of the initiative in return for a year of Crafting Connections free of charge.

Settings that are keen to get involved in the trial should get in touch with The Together Project, the intergenerational charity behind the initiative, as soon as possible - details below.

Eleven countries across the world are taking part in Global Intergenerational Week, organised by Generations Working Together. Countries that are taking part include the UK, Ireland, Australia, America, Canada, Spain and Sweden. In England, nurseries including Apple and Honeys Nightingale in London and St Philips Marsh Nursery school in Bristol are holding events.

At Apple and Honeys Nightingale events during the week include - sensory activities, a teddy bears picnic, an intergenerational exercise class and gardening.

Co-founder and director of Apple and Honeys Nightingale Judith Ish-Horowicz said, 'We have a full programme this week and are delighted that we are back in the same space as our Nightingale Hammerson grandfriends without a glass screen separating us. Whilst we have managed to keep the relationships going throughout the past two years, it has been difficult and we have had to adapt in order to keep our grandfriends safe It's such a joy to be back together without restrictions.'

Crafting Connections

Crafting Connections is primarily aimed at children from the age of three, however all ages are welcome to take part. It builds on the success of a similar project ran by The Together Project during lockdown.

Under the initiative, each child is paired with a care home resident to form an ongoing friendship. Each month they both receive an artwork challenge and a questionnaire about themselves on a specific theme. They complete these and send them to each other in the post, via the charity. They are also free to swap other pictures, photos and letters. In the first month, all those involved receive a Friendship Folder to store their friends’ masterpieces.

As well as the artwork challenge and questionnaire, the children’s packs include ‘wisdom’ on the month’s theme from older generations and arts and crafts goodies.

The cost of Crafting Connections, whose ambassador is children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt, will be determined during the trial phase, however the intention is to make it as affordable as possible.

Chief executive Louise Goulden said, ‘There are so many benefits to being involved with Crafting Connections. For children, it places value on older generations, develops artistic, creative and language skills and teaches kindness, empathy and compassion. For older adults it reduces loneliness and social isolation and creates a feel good factor of contributing to a child's development, as well as providing an enriching, engaging activity with a purpose.’

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