A Seattle preschool is experimenting with a new way of teaching, by pairing the young students with senior citizens.
The Intergenerational Learning center in West Seattle, houses a preschool within the Providence Mount St Vincent senior care facility. Five days a week the students and residents come together to sing songs, create art projects, and tell stories, according to ABC News.
Evan Briggs is a filmmaker in the process of shooting a documentary about the center.
According to Briggs, residents did a “complete transformation in the presence of the children. Moments before the kids came in, sometimes the people seemed half alive, sometimes asleep. It was a depressing scene. As soon as the kids walked in for art or music or making sandwiches for the homeless or whatever the project that day was, the residents came alive.”
Though the preschool is unique in it’s location, parents don’t necessarily send thier children to the ILC because of it’s proximity to seniors. “It’s got a great reputation and great teachers,” said Briggs.
Briggs is hoping that her film will bring awareness to the ILC and the impact the model can have on society. “Shooting this film and embedding myself in the nursing home environment also allowed me to see with new eyes just how generationally segregated we’ve become as a society. And getting to know so many of the amazing residents of the Mount really highlighted the tremendous loss this is for us all, ” she said.
Briggs named her documentary ‘Present Perfect’ because of how the phrase represents the very old, who have much past experience but very little future, and the very young, who have very little past but so much future; and how the two only have a few years of overlap in their lives.
Briggs talked about the interactions between the children and the residents, called them “sweet, some awkward, some funny — all of them poignant and heartbreakingly real.”