Students at Walnut Park Elementary are staying connected with their senior buddies at the Bulkley Lodge.
The Living History project started during the month of March when a class of Grade 4 students went to the retirement home, met and worked with some senior friends. The students were partnered with a resident there, got to know them, interviewed them and played some games.
They were supposed to carry on after Spring Break and eventually have a big celebration where the students would present their senior friends with a biography they had written about their lives, but with the ongoing pandemic, they weren’t able.
“Working with [staff at the] Bulkley Lodge and knowing that the seniors and elders are feeling vulnerable and lonely, we have been able to maintain our connections with our senior friends,” said school principal Nicole Davey. “Students have been writing letters and making pictures that we’ve laminated so we can properly sanitize them and we’ve been making deliveries.”
The students have a plan to do something weekly for their senior friends. Last week they dropped off pictures and letters. This week the kids will decorate the exterior of the seniors’ windows and eventually would like to do some Zoom calls.
While the seniors are benefiting from some company to help during pandemic-induced isolation, Davey said the students are also benefiting.
“This is a meaningful learning activity for the students and they are doing a lot of writing and practicing creativity and it is a great way to support their learning at home. This is being done as part of their educational program at home,” she said.
So far Davey has heard good feedback from the residents of the lodge.
“They love being around the young people and we are all disappointed that we aren’t able to see the Living History Project through to its competition, but the most important part of the project is the relationships and the connections that are happening between the seniors and the students. That is something we still want to nurture, and encourage and continue through this time,” added Davey.