On Tuesday 28 May 2019, Australia’s first co-built educational and aged-care facility was opened at 54 Woodcroft Drive, Morphett Vale, South Australia.

Onkaparinga Mayor, Erin Thompson, will formally openthe Southern Montessori Middle School, which has been built on the grounds of Kalyra Woodcroft Aged Care.

The school consists of three classrooms with a total capacity for approximately 60 students, costing in the vicinity of $1,250,000.

‘Kalyra Communities mission is to service people in need, which we’ve been committed to for 127 years. This project is a wonderful expression of our mission in action within a community in which we operate” explained Kalyra Communities CEO, Sara Blunt.

‘The students needed more space to learn, our residents saw the opportunity could add a vibrancy to their home, and the Onkaparinga council worked with us to make it happen.  It is a wonderful example of a community working together to make a positive difference. ’

Noel Browne, Principal Southern Montessori, explained, ‘society is facing increasing age segregation which we believe can be influenced by learning programmes andintergenerational care opportunities.

By encouraging interaction between the young and old, meaningful understanding and connection can be built between the two generations. This can only lead to a more balanced and well-functioning society’.

‘Research shows everyone benefits when the young and old generations come together. Children gain from positive role models and mentoring, develop empathy and respect for older people, plus benefit from being exposed to the wisdom and traditions of older adults’.

‘Intergenerational programs also help to dispel age related myths and stereotypes.

‘They have been shown to improve older adults health outcomes, for example, overcoming feelings of loneliness, experiencing a greater sense of purpose, exposure to new learnings (for example, technology) and increased physical activity. They also benefit from expanded social networks,’ shared an enthusiastic Terry Wilby, Kalyra Woodcroft Director of Care.

Terry went on to advise, ‘The impact of this innovative intergenerational approach will be measured by a study to be undertaken by Flinders University.

‘The aim of the research will be to measure the quality of life of residents and the psychosocial and cultural outcomes of the co-locationon both the residents and students. We expect both to experience benefits’.

Keen to have the last word, Sara Blunt quoted Cultural Anthropologist Margaret Mead, “somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”

Image: Kay Ogden, as resident at Kalyra Woodcroft Aged Care with students of Southern Montessori Middle School. Channel 9 Adelaide.

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