We all have our favourite recipes. There is the tried and true. Or there’s the newly created ones that are fun to test and then turn into classics.
One tried and true combination in life is older adults and children, yet it is a combination that may not be as common as either group would like to see. There can be new ways to bring these groups together and have them benefit from learning and creating together.
At Lindenwood Manor in Winnipeg, we are in our fifth week of testing what is a new recipe for us, and one that we think is worth sharing.
- Step 1: Take a Grade 4 class from the Katherine Friesen Campus of the Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary and Middle Schools close by. Divide the class in half, making sure to get a class with an innovative teacher who includes home economics in the classroom.
- Step 2: Add several lifelong cooks living at Lindenwood who are open to trying a new adventure.
- Step 3: Mix the two in a private dining room that can accommodate four table groups. Then combine the groups once a week for three weeks to participate together in home economics classes.
- Step 4: After the third class, share fresh chocolate chip cookies with others who live in the building.
- Step 5: Repeat the first four steps with the second part of the class.
The result of this is you will hear laughter and encouragement from both generations. You may hear conversations that include an unapologetic “I really can’t see, so you will have to help me,” to, “That dough looks about right. Good job.”
Students will enjoy talking about their 97-year-old table partner with their friends at school, or a table partner will enjoy praying with her friends for the students to “feel loved and grow into godly men and women.”
A parent shared that his son really loved home economics classes at Lindenwood, saying he “loved interacting with the seniors, because they had a lot to teach, and he thought they enjoyed the class as well.”
As with any new recipe, this one needs some tweaking, but the basics are there. Observing each age group enhance the life and learning of the other is even better than the cookies they bake. It is a recipe to mark as a favourite and reuse in the future.