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Daycare programme for pre-schoolers and seniors to mingle

SINGAPORE — Pre-schoolers and seniors will be taking part in shared activities under a structured programme launched yesterday by NTUC First Campus and NTUC Health. By the end of the year, all 15 senior centres run by NTUC Health are expected to join the programme.

Daycare programme for pre-schoolers and seniors to mingle

Photo: NTUC Health's Facebook Page

SINGAPORE — Pre-schoolers and seniors will be taking part in shared activities under a structured programme launched on Monday (March 27) by NTUC First Campus and NTUC Health. By the end of the year, all 15 senior centres run by NTUC Health are expected to join the programme.

Instead of organising the occasional intergenerational activities during certain festivals and celebrations, a more structured programme will be able to teach the younger children values such as empathy, compassion and respect for the seniors, both social enterprises said in a media release.

Mr Chan Tee Seng, chief executive officer of NTUC First Campus that runs the My First Skool childcare centres, said that the new programme would engage two generations with “thoughtful programming and specially designed activities that bring about the best possible benefits for both the young and seniors”.

At the same time, the older generation will be more empowered and develop a stronger sense of purpose by mentoring children during the time they spend together.

The programme would strengthen their cognition and physical functions as well, NTUC Health’s chief executive Chua Song Khim said.

The inter-generational programme has three tiers. The basic tier for ad-hoc activities and informal partnerships, such as during festive celebrations. The intermediate tier organises shared activities regularly for the short or long term, such as for birthday celebrations and monthly activities.

The advanced tier is for regular and planned activities that are worked into the childcare curriculum and the senior centre’s schedule for the long term. This means that there will be shared activities for both these centres throughout the year.

The spokesperson for both social enterprises said that the three tiers were meant to cater to the varying capabilities and resources of the centres.

At the moment, 14 sets of senior centres and childcare centres offer the programme: Five centres offer the programme at the basic tier, eight at the intermediate tier, and one at the advanced tier.

The upcoming Silver Circle senior centre run by NTUC Health at Geylang East will offer the programme after it begins operations in the second quarter of the year.

A research on the advanced programme piloted by My First Skool at Braddell Heights and Silver Circle (Serangoon Central) found that children at Kindergarten 1 and 2 levels showed varying degrees of learning in their ability and willingness to relate to seniors.

The selected seniors, mostly those with mild to moderate dementia, also appeared to enjoy the sessions spent interacting with the children, the spokesperson said. Some of the activities include baking cookies and mooncakes and drawing henna designs, among others.

Housewife Lua Shi Yunn noticed that her six-year-old daughter Puah Ying Tsi became more caring and understanding after the programme. The girl would now pour drinks for her grandparents and give them massages once in a while.

Even though 87-year-old Chee Yow Lock just started joining these sessions last month, he has already picked up some ideas from interacting with these pre-schoolers and used them when playing with his own great-grandchildren.

He said: “Seeing the children brings me a lot of joy, and they are very obedient. If only I can take part in this programme every day.”

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