Vivacious youngsters from Denman Children's Centre put big smiles on residents' faces at Merton Court

FROM a young age, we're told to respect our elders.

And, a group of vivacious kids from the Denman Children's Centre are doing just that - and a whole lot more - at Merton Court on a regular basis.

Every Friday, the youngsters walk to the aged care facility to catch up with their "grand-friends", much to the delight of the older citizens.

The idea behind the social calls is based on the highly-successful ABC TV documentary Old People's Home For 4-Year-olds, where pre-schoolers share their classroom with pensioners for an extended period of time.

"It's our own version of the show," Merton Living general manager Shani Mitchell said.

"I watched the program; and thought it would be good to adopt here.

"Afterwards, I spoke to Nicole McKenzie (Denman Children's Centre), who was keen to get on board.

"While we've had kids visit Merton Court before, we've never implemented a recurring visitation arrangement.

"It was supposed to be a fortnightly thing.

"But, the residents loved it so much, it's now occurring weekly."

Ms Mitchell said everyone was inspired by the inter-generational concept.

"It's all about forming bonds and relationships," she explained.

"Each of the children have already claimed their 'buddy'.

"After a chat, they enjoy some morning tea and do projects, or an activity, together.

"We actually trialled it at the end of last year.

"And, the residents responded immediately - they really light up when the kids arrive.

"You can see a sparkle in their eyes.

"The feedback's been great."

Ms McKenzie echoed Ms Mitchell's sentiments, saying it was a win-win situation for all involved.

"The children look forward to spending an hour or two with their 'grand-friends' each week," she admitted.

"As for the residents, they appear to get a buzz out of it, too.

"So, it works both ways."