There is nothing as comforting as being read a story by your grandparent. Now, kindergarten students at Amherstview Public School can enjoy that special moment as part of their curriculum.
The school has partnered with Royale Place Retirement Residence in Kingston, ON. Residents at Royale Place are filming themselves reading children’s stories, with the help of their lifestyle consultant, Sheena Brazeau.
“I’ve been doing intergenerational programs with the schools each year,” Sheena said. When the class visited last year “one of our residents read to the children, and they were thrilled to listen to ‘How to Fill Someone’s Bucket with Happiness.’ With COVID-19, I knew the class was not going to be able to return. But I knew how much both the kids and residents loved to interact. I thought, why not shoot a video of our residents reading?”
Sheena asked for residents to volunteer for the program. Initially, she’d only been expecting one or two, but says she’s had several residents come forward, including bilingual residents. Since Amherstview is a French immersion, they’re thrilled to have some stories in French shared as well.
So far, Sheena’s gotten a lot of positive feedback around the program. Parents have said they love having the residents read to their children, and the children feel much the same way. The stories are assigned to families by the teachers, and have been declared “fun homework.”
“I used to do a lot of reading to my children,” said Sandra, who has so far had two readings filmed for the children. “This was a way I could contribute to other children, and if they appreciate it, then that makes me happy.”
Whether schools open next September or remain closed, Sheena and the teachers plan to continue the program, and may even try livestreaming the readings. Until then, you can enjoy some of the stories at the links below. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Sandra reads Willbee the Bumblebee by Craig Smith and Maureen Thomson
Sandra reads The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith