RICHBORO >> Fourth graders from the Richboro Elementary School took a room full of seniors on an armchair musical journey through the United States on Thursday inside the James Kinney Senior Center.
Under the direction of music teacher Kitty O’Connor, the students from Tammy Coapman’s class led their senior friends on an interactive performance of “Fifty Nifty United States.”
As the students sang about the states, the seniors illustrated the song by holding up signs, each bearing the name of a different state from Hawaii to Maine.
In recognition of Flag Day on June 14, the kids also joined the seniors in singing "Grand Old Flag” and a beautiful song called "I Love America.” The kids waved flags as many of the seniors clapped to the beat.
From the smiles on their faces, it was evident the students were a big hit among the seniors. And the seniors were a big hit among the kids.
“It’s nice to see them smiling,” said O’Connor of the seniors. “And the children enjoy seeing how happy the audience is. I try to make it interactive so the seniors feel a part of it. Events like this bring us all together.”
The performance took place during Dr. Kimberly Rose’s Seniorcize class, one of the longest running programs at the center where seniors participate in chair aerobics.
“This is a wonderful intergenerational activity,” said Rose, who was only to happy to give up some of her class time for the special visitors. “My seniors love it. And the kids love the senior center.
“The last time they were here two little boys asked if they could join the senior center because they had so much fun,” said Rose with a big smile. “Our seniors love having the kids sing to them. It’s a win-win for both sides.”
Rose said the interaction between the generations is priceless. “It’s learning about each other. It’s the discovery of seeing that each can have fun and they can get along. It’s a beautiful thing to see them together. And the look on the seniors’ faces is pure joy. They are like our grandchildren. We just adore them.”
Their appearance at the school was organized by the school’s outreach coordinator Carole Gluch. It was also supported and encouraged by the leadership of the center.
“Events like this remind our seniors of when their children were that age and some may even have memories of when they were in elementary school,” said the center’s Director Sheila Jobs. “When it comes to intergenerational programs, it’s never enough. It’s tough to coordinate because of their schedules and our schedules. We’re working on developing new programs where there is more of that bond between a senior and a young child.”
The field trip to the senior center was part of Council Rock’s “Across the Generations,” an intergenerational initiative supported by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Fraser.
Throughout the 2018-19 school year the CR staff and students have been seeking out and taking part in intergenerational activities that directly impact senior citizens in their community.
Since the start of the year, students have connected with local seniors to brighten up holidays, share good books, learn life lessons and more.
Some of the district’s “Across the Generations” partnerships and projects have included:
- Northampton Senior Center: Cocoa and Cookies Winter Warm-Up Activity by the Richboro Elementary School.
- Holland Elementary School: Pickering Manor - Leadership/ Life Lesson Exchange.
- Newtown Elementary School: Local senior citizens visited the school for reading partners activities.
- Goodnoe Elementary School: Pickering Manor Valentine card drop off for residents.
- Churchville Elementary: Brookdale Nursing Home Valentines visit - homemade roses and cards, students sang love songs.
- Wrightstown Elementary: Northampton Senior Center combined holiday wrap project.
- Hillcrest Elementary: Twining Village Reading Budy Activity with homemade bookmarks.
- Newtown Middle School: Friends Home and Village holiday event: students served dinner, sang holiday songs, and delivered specially wrapped presents collected by the school community.
- Maureen M. Welch Elementary: Ann's Choice spring cheer personalized cards for residents.