Spring Grove Wye – From five to 95 – all-age activities with Spring Grove School

22 May 2019

Every Friday morning, a group of children from Reception class at Spring Grove School slip out of the school’s assembly and put on their wellies to walk with their teachers across the field that separates the school from the nearby village of Wye. Their destination is the Brambles Care Home, a modern, family-run home that cares for up to 28 residents. The children have been making this weekly journey since early in 2019, and it is now a regular part of their routine – and a highly anticipated event for young and old alike.

The staff at the Brambles place great emphasis on providing a varied and stimulating programme of activities for their residents, and have close associations with many groups in the local community including the Brownies and the local church. For years, children from Spring Grove have visited at various times of the year, to sing carols at Christmas, or to bring Harvest gifts. But it was while watching the Channel 4 programme ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ that an idea came to Mrs Hilary Jones, Head of Music at Spring Grove School, to take the already existing link between Spring Grove and the Brambles a step further, and through regular visits to foster more long-term relationships between residents and children.

Since the start of their weekly visits, teachers and staff have watched the children grow in confidence as they engage with the elderly residents. The interaction from both sides is lovely to see, and for the children it is a great opportunity to learn how to socialise – to speak clearly and to listen. The visits promote emotional wellbeing on both sides: as one staff member put it: “The residents light up when the children enter the room…”. Equally, the children return to school eager to share their experiences, and to tell their stories.

Each week there is an activity for the residents and children to undertake together, whether it’s singing songs, learning about weaving with Wye Community Farm, reading and telling stories, flower arranging, or making friendship cards. Mrs Jones commented: “I have been delighted with the positive comments from children and residents alike, who after only a few visits, greet each other warmly. The conversations flow more freely and the children’s energy and enthusiasm encourages the residents to get involved in the activities. Despite the age range of 90+ years, it is wonderful to see how both young and old interact and gain such joy from the experiences.”