Age Exchange celebrates learning across generations

Assignment brings generations together

A celebration party marked the finale of a project that has helped young people and older residents to share their stories.

Ten Gifted & Talented students from The Radclyffe School have taken part in Age Exchange this term. As well as being a great way of learning about older people’s experiences, it has also led to some lasting friendships.

The students ‘buddy up’ with an older person to share life stories. The children gain a first-hand account of childhood, working life, relationships and wartime experiences from their grandparents’ generation. The students then work with their ‘buddy’ to create books telling the older peoples’ stories. Over ten weeks there is a variety of activities, including a practical session when the students learned the secrets of wartime cookery.At the celebration party, each of the older participants were presented with their finished book.

Teacher of History Mrs Mason said, “The project is hugely effective in changing perceptions from both sides. For our students it is eye-opening to appreciate that older people were once just like them; for the older people taking part it is a pleasure to discover how polite and helpful young people can be.”

Though a new group of students take part each year, the friendships created are long lasting. The project is organised in partnership with Age UK, who help to identify the older participants. Many of the contributors are happy to come back year after year to be involved.

For the first time this year, as two of the older people are partially sighted, their books are being created as an audio book, using the high quality recording technology available at the school.

This is the eleventh year that The Radclyffe School has organised Age Exchange. In previous years the project has won a Pride in Oldham award and led to a visit to Clarence House, as Prince Charles chose the project as a great example of work to promote understanding between generations.

12 July 2013

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