The Childhood Games Intergenerational Project involves older adults who share memories with children in local schools – story telling, learning about old street games and many other things that lead to puppeteering, puppet making and theatre production. Intergenerational work is an integral aspect of LMA’s work. It is planning to extend its contacts with schools to create exhibition material, publish a book and establish a new centre. This will host out-of-school intergenerational activities and develop a new drama project with the Citadel Youth Centre.
The project currently includes a range of artistic and shared learning experiences across the generations, including:
- three Queen Margaret University (QMU) students participating in sessions in community-based organisations
- audio recording of sessions to provide students with a structure for theatre performance involving P6 and P7 pupils
- attendance by older adults at the performances at Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
- students directing, producing and performing, as well as facilitating drama and puppet-making workshops with pupils.
A programme (‘Raa-Boh’) was produced and directed by students’ of ‘Tortoise in a Nutshell’ Theatre Company. A combination of puppets and live action provided a lively and engaging way of interpreting the memories gathered from reminiscence sessions. It was enjoyed by around 120 primary school pupils and numerous groups of older people. The pupils’ learning experience was also enhanced through puppet-making workshops using re-cycled materials. Linking themes of childhood memories to the notion of re-cycling, re-using and ‘making your own fun’ allowed a connection with the school curriculum. Learning resource packs for teachers were also provided in schools before and after the programme.
Key factors of success
For everyone involved, the experience, individually and collectively, increased self-confidence and mutual understanding across generations. Older adults enjoyed opportunities to share memories in their own words and drama workshops gave children opportunities to play games and work creatively in the performance. They also enjoyed making puppets from everyday materials and were excited to see them exhibited at Brunton Theatre. The main challenges were communication, co-ordination and time-tabling. The main lesson learned was that young people and older people have much more in common than they think.
- don’t be intimidated by the word ‘intergenerational’!
- plan well and make sure necessary finance is in place;
- be flexible and ensure your theme fits with the school curriculum
- be sensitive and selective about the groups brought together
- make sure schools are ready to support pupils e.g. by providing teacher resource packs
- make sure you are well prepared for health and safety and other legislative issues.