Saturday, January 17, 2015

Senior Adults in the Classroom

I am having an amazing experience this year with two senior adults in my classroom!  One is an aid for an individual student {and I can only hope to have as much patience when I am her age as she does.}  The other is a volunteer who comes in to read with students for an hour each week.

First, you should know that my life was heavily influenced by older adults.  {Even though I couldn't see it as a kid, I definitely know it now as an adult.}  I grew up living next door to my grandparents.  They did not have material wealth to use to spoil us, but they did invest their time, wisdom, and knowledge in us.  I learned so much from them.  I gained a love of reading from my grandfather.  I learned how to run a very small business in 8th grade growing flowers with my grandma.  I used the money for flute lessons, but I also know that I have the skills to get what I really want in life because of that experience.

I think we are living in a time when most kids don't get to spend much time with grandparents or other older adults.  They don't have people who are giving them the gift of time or unconditional acceptance.

Enter senior adults in the school.  I am completely blown away by the impact of these two women on the lives of my students.  {The first thing one student told me after winter break was that he had seen our volunteer in Target over break.  He beamed with pride. }

She enters our classroom every week with such love and affection for those kids.  They know she is just there for them.

She is exceptional.  I know.  I wish every classroom had volunteers like her.  I wish school administrators would seek these people out and bring them in.  It is a game changer for kids to just know they are loved and someone wants to give them time.  Aren't your students starved for that sort of attention?  Mine are.

One idea for getting senior adults into school is having a Grandparents/Special Person event.  It could be to invite them in first thing one morning or at the end of your day to listen to their child read or it could be a fancy program or somewhere in between.

Then invite them to sign up to return.

I have done similar things earlier in my teaching career, but now I feel like children NEED this more than every before.

Have you been able to utilize seniors in your classroom?  How did you do it?

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