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PUBLISHED

27 November 2023

A pioneer in Intergenerational Programme, NTUC First Campus harnesses benefits for both young and old

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In 2016, NTUC First Campus (NFC) and NTUC Health, which run childcare and eldercare centres respectively, pioneered and launched a structured Intergenerational (IG) Programme to promote regular interaction between preschoolers and seniors in Singapore. Studies conducted by the teams have shown that such interactions are beneficial to both the young and the old.

Children at MFS visiting the National Museum with seniors from NTUC Health.

Benefits to both young and old

The specially designed intergenerational interactions are mutually beneficial.

Embedded in the preschool curriculum at NFC’s My First Skool (MFS), the IG programme promotes values such as empathy, compassion and respect. Children are encouraged to practise these values when they interact with seniors at home and in the community. In so doing, they develop relational skills, which is one of three vital skills NFC aims to inculcate in its children alongside global citizenship and digital intelligence. NFC is the first preschool operator in Singapore to launch such an initiative through its MFS centres.

The seniors at the NTUC Health day care centres also stand to benefit from the Programme. By providing opportunities for them to mentor children during activities, they are empowered with a strong sense of purpose and dignity. This enables them to age gracefully and strengthens their cognitive and physical functions.

Purposeful interactions

Thoughtful and carefully designed activities provide opportunities for children and seniors to engage in meaningful interactions. They include visits to museums, games, art projects and fundraising for disadvantaged families. The seniors are encouraged to share their life experiences with MFS’s preschoolers, imparting meaningful lessons to the younger generation.

Children from MFS at Braddell Heights making flower pots with seniors at NTUC Health Day Centre for Seniors (Serangoon Central) to raise funds for needy children and families.

Aceson Lee is a Kindergarten 2 child at MFS at Braddell Heights who participates in the IG Programme. His mother Gina believes the Programme is well-intended and beneficial for Aceson.

“The IG Programme exposes children to different life experiences, histories and wisdom that older adults can share, which makes it a valuable learning experience,” she said.

Umar Bin Muhammad Firdaus, a Kindergarten 2 child who attends the IG Programme at MFS at Braddell Heights also fondly remembers some of the activities he took part in.

“It is a good opportunity for our young ones to get started and be exposed to community activities beyond the classroom,” said Umar’s father Firdaus.

Meaningful conversations

In celebration of Grandparents’ Day on 26 November, NFC and NTUC Health collaborated with digital content creator Our Grandfather Story to capture the endearing interactions between three pairs of children from MFS and seniors.

What do 70-year-olds and preschoolers have in common? Three pairs of seniors from NTUC Health and 6-year-olds from My First Skool meet, and share about their dreams, memories and hope. Along the way, they discover the common threads that bind them.

Eager to nurture relational skills and values such as empathy and respect in your child? Join My First Skool today.


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