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Young and old bond over dialect lessons at senior daycare centre

PUBLISHED

17 June 2024

A child and senior pair engaging in dialogue during a dialect session for the Intergenerational Programme, which is piloted by NTUC First Campus and NTUC Health at its My First Skool preschool and Senior Day Care at Serangoon Central.

A Straits Times article featured NTUC First Campus (NFC) and NTUC Health‘s Intergenerational Programme, which started as ad-hoc activities in 2014, and was incorporated into the curriculum at NFC’s My First Skool (MFS) preschools as well as regular programming for seniors at NTUC Health’s elderly care facilities in 2017.

In 2023, NFC and NTUC Health piloted intergenerational dialect sessions at its Senior Day Care in Serangoon Central, and the sessions have been gaining traction since.

Twice a month, preschoolers from MFS at Braddell Heights Community Hub visit seniors at NTUC Health’s senior day care centre nearby to learn dialects such as Hokkien, Teochew, and Cantonese. The seniors teach the Kindergarten 2 children simple greetings and how to count in dialect.

Apart from dialect sessions, the preschoolers and seniors make arts and crafts and hold festive and birthday celebrations together regularly.

The goal of the Intergenerational Programme is to empower seniors with a greater sense of purpose in sharing their knowledge and culture through activities while inculcating in preschoolers values of empathy, compassion and respect for seniors, said Chan Su Yee, chief executive of NTUC Health and NTUC First Campus.

“Over the years, we have witnessed improvements in seniors through the Intergenerational Programme. For instance, seniors with conditions such as dementia and aphasia showed improvement in social interaction and engagement during the sessions. We were surprised that a senior who was usually very quiet came to life when he was asked to tell a story to the preschoolers.”

Media coverage

Straits Times Print (16 June 2024)

Straits Times Online (16 June 2024)

Straits Times Video (17 June 2024)

The New Paper Online (17 June 2024)

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