Bonnets and Baseball Caps
The project was developed to address issues, and break down barriers, of misunderstandings, which can occur between generations. The ‘Bonnets and Baseball Caps’ Project was set up in Stewarton to examine the misunderstandings that can occur between older and younger members of the community and to help break down barriers between the generations. The project was developed to address these issues, by providing an opportunity to involve pupils in voluntary work within the community and across the generations. Additionally, it was hoped that this would allow the school to engage in activities that would meet outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence.
The group of 6th year pupils and residents from Hamilton Gardens Sheltered Housing (with ages ranging from 16 to 89) was facilitated by an English teacher from Stewarton Academy and a member of staff from the East Ayrshire Volunteer Centre. Meetings took place in the school and involved the English, art, music and IT departments and included stereotyping, the good old days – memories of school life, surfing the net, script writing, composing music and art work.
The project culminated in a showcase which included a photographic display, slide show, feedback from participants and a piece of drama which explored the issues of prejudice.
Benefits for the Community
It was recognised that intergenerational and partnership work can make a positive impact on the community. The main focus was on the concept of stereotyping and the similarities and differences between the generations. All the participants considered the experience to be life changing and had increased their confidence in taking part in activities and interacting across generations.
Benefits for the Younger People
The young people gained valuable experience in volunteering and gained an insight to the practical difficulties older people can sometimes face. The young participants learned that older people are resilient and do not let their difficulties stop participation and enjoyment in life. The younger people felt more valued by the older participants and the project contributed to breaking down barriers and stereotypes as this young person relays:
“The older people weren’t old-fashioned, grumpy and boring. They were down-to-earth, friendly and interested in what we had to say.”
The activities also allowed the school to meet outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence, e.g. Health and Wellbeing across learning: Mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing.
Benefits for the Older People
The project gave the older adults an opportunity to meet with their peers and with the young people, to engage in creative activities and to overcome significant health and mobility problems. Older people gained new skills and a sense that they had contributed to pupils’ learning by sharing experiences of school and work life.
The older participants said:
“When we started I didn’t know what to expect and how we would all get on, but they made us feel at home from the beginning.”
“This is not like when we went to school. This is great fun.”
“It is possible to have a laugh – even with the teachers!”
“Young people today have worries and concerns just like we had.”
“Things have changed a lot – there are more pressures on young people now.”
The pupils said:
“It was a real eye-opener to see how much we had in common.”
“I was a little unsure at the beginning, but we have been working with some of the nicest people in Stewarton.”
“It was such a positive experience – one of my sixth year highlights.”
This project contributes to the Scottish National Performance Framework (NFP):
Scottish NFP Objectives
The main NFP objective that this project contributes to is:
- Safer and Stronger aims to help local communities to flourish and become stronger, safer places to live.
These NPF objectives could also apply:
- Smarter will focus on improving literacy, numeracy and attainment and on raising and realising ambition for all.
- Wealthier and Fairer will support activities that address inequalities and enhance skills, employability and job opportunities. It builds on the characteristics of solidarity, cohesion and sustainability to ensure that all of Scotland has an opportunity to flourish.
Scottish NPF Outcomes
- We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others: Being part of a strong community gives us the support we need locally. It minimises crime, antisocial behaviour and their social and economic costs.
- Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens: To enable children, young people and (subsequently) adults to thrive from an early age, and make a positive contribution in the 21st century.