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The Benefits of Intergenerational Learning in the Montessori Classroom

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The Benefits of Intergenerational Learning in the Montessori Classroom


At Grey Matter Montessori, we believe school is about more than just memorizing – it’s about gaining life-experiences that will equip children with the tools they need in order to grow and learn throughout their lives. That’s why we do our best to create a diverse environment that will help support this doctrine. Those diverse life experiences include Intergenerational learning, which plays a key role in equipping our preschool/kindergarten students for diverse life experiences.

A More Optimistic Approach for Our Preschool/Kindergarten Kids

Children and retirees don’t mix – or at least that’s the common thought on the matter. And, at first glance, that thought makes sense. Kids are little explosions of energy – often with little regard for rules or decorum – while older folks tend towards a much less active lifestyle, and rely on decorum to avoid social dilemmas. Putting the two together seems like a recipe for stress on both ends. But, that’s taking a very narrow minded view of both our elders, and our children.

In Montessori-style classrooms, we prefer to look outside the box, at the bigger, beneficial picture. Previously, we’ve covered the benefits of mixed ages in a classroom setting, but at Grey Matter Montessori, it doesn’t stop with mixing our classes. We believe young children can bring great blessings to their elders, and that elders can bestow wisdom and calm on our children. But, to attain this, we need to create a safe place where they can interact.

This is the foundation of intergenerational learning.

What is Intergenerational Learning?

Currently, we at Grey Matter Montessori in Northwest Calgary work together with a local assisted living facility to give our children, and elders in the community, the benefits of intergenerational learning. Twice a year, we take our children to Calgary’s Covenant Care facility to engage in guided games and interact with seniors. The results of these trips have proven to be incredibly positive for both our kids, and the older folks, so much so that Grey Matter Montessori is starting a pilot project – inviting seniors to come visit us in our school environment, too.

The Benefits of Intergenerational Learning in the Montessori Classroom

Benefits of Intergenerational Learning for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

  • Children learn how to interact with people who are very different from them – an integral skill in life beyond the walls of school
  • Helps children understand the importance of elders
  • Reinforces manners, patience, respect and tolerance in our children, along with helping to round out their empathy and social skills
  • Encourages children to accept people that are unlike them
  • These interactions have a calming effect on most children

Benefits of Intergenerational Learning for Seniors

  • Young children bring energy, and verve with them that can be infectious to people, both young and old
  • Offers seniors the chance to step outside their normal routine, while staying in a safe place
  • Encourages activity in seniors
  • By giving seniors the chance to nurture young children, they gain a feeling of usefulness, along with exercising their minds (and hearts)
  • Older children can help seniors understand technology
  • Older generations can impart knowledge and experience to younger generations
  • The Montessori Method is becoming a very popular therapy for dementia

Intergenerational Learning Brings Life Back Into the Classroom

It’s easy as instructors to get lost in the maze of facts and skills we need to teach children, and lose sight of the great diversity of life out there. But we firmly believe that it is our job as teachers, guides, and mentors to do more than just lay out facts in front of our students.

At Grey Matter Montessori, we strive to help our students learn through a variety of ways, so that when the questions in life are no longer answerable through multiple choice, they can remain well-equipped to answer them, still. For more information about Montessori-style classrooms, or Grey Matter Montessori, give us a call today!

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Another shout out to an amazing school here in #Calgary! Our youngest son goes to this school and he loves it! In just 5 short months his knowledge has grown, his confidence is starting to bloom and he just loves learning! The personal touch the wonderful teachers provide is certainly priceless!  What I love is that when you walk in there, there is always calming music playing softly, and everyone is smiling and friendly 

Maryann Penney

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