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About the "Developing an Intergenerational Program in Your Early Childhood Center" guidebook

A question asked by a growing number of early childhood professionals is: Do young children and older adults benefit by participating in intergenerational programs in early childhood settings? The intergenerational literature is quite optimistic in its answer. Among the numerous benefits noted are the following:

  • Children benefit from the extra nurturing and attention.
  • Children learn about aging and lifespan development.
  • Seniors benefit from the sense of being needed and appreciated.
  • Seniors have a positive, calming effect on the classrooms in which they work.

Yet, it is not always clear, from an organizational standpoint, how to go about developing effective programs that will lead to these and other desirable outcomes. Toward this end, a team of educators involved in the development and study of intergenerational programs at Penn State University's two early childhood centers set out to develop a guidebook, web-based activities, and other resources to assist early childhood professionals interested in involving senior adults in early childhood care and education programs.

These resources—all accessible through this website—convey practical information on topics such as finding and training senior volunteers, preparing staff, and integrating senior adults into the curriculum. An underlying theme in these materials is that with good support and training, senior adults can do more than assist with the existing curriculum that is developed by professional staff. They can become valuable curriculum makers and contribute to all sorts of positive changes in the entire early childhood setting.

We hope you find these materials of use and welcome your input as to additional resources we could develop or link to for our website. Contact Matt Kaplan for more information.