Age no barrier as young & not-so-young come together

Friday 19 October 2012, 4:49PM

By Dave Worsley


Although rarely acknowledged and generally behind the scenes, Sport Auckland has continued to find and run ways in which communities can work together for positive results.

One such activity is Move & Groove, put together by the Active Movement section of Sport Auckland where through positive role modelling of physical activity – children witness peers, teachers, family and older generation coming together and having fun through positive movement experiences.

The Move & Groove Intergenerational Pilot Project has been a two-year pilot project funded by Auckland Council and delivered by Sport Auckland and ran from June 2010 to August 2012 with implementation being worked on for future months.

Of the twenty relationships which started the programme throughout the two-year pilot project, 12 continue participating in Move & Groove with top results.

One of the 12 continuing relationships is between Y-Under Fives, at Ellerslie YMCA and Mercy Parklands Hospital & Retirement Home, who started doing Move & Groove together in August 2011

A group of children from Y-Under Fives visit the residents weekly for Move & Groove sessions, by either walking through Michaels Avenue Reserve or using their minivan in poor weather.

Move & Groove has initiated (or in a few cases built on existing) links in the community between elderly residences and Early Childhood Education Centres throughout Auckland.

Many of the relationships instigated by Move & Groove have expanded outside Move & Groove sessions to sharing other activities such as morning teas, musical concerts, birthday parties, as well as special days or seasonal events throughout the year like Anzac Day, Easter and Christmas.

These relationships have become very strong community links, which has proven beneficial for all involved (children, residents, staff of both facilities plus the families of the children and residents), at a time when society is becoming more and more institutionalised.

“It’s great to see people of all ages experiencing something new or in some cases a reinvigoration of themselves. For the kids it’s quite often interacting with older people and hearing their experiences.

While the adults gain from the enthusiasm of the younger ones and enjoy their time with them, especially when both parties may not have large families to spend time around. It’s amazing to sometimes see how they take care of each other,” says Sport Auckland, Active Play Manager, Victoria Barton.

Move & Groove sessions are 30 minutes long and held weekly at either the elderly residences or the ECEs. The programme provides a platform for different generations to interact and learn about each other through physical activity and fun.

Activities are based on fundamental movement skills, interaction and having fun and may include games, singing and dancing using colourful scarves, balls, feathers, balloons and more.

Children who may not have grandparents living nearby or no longer have grandparents at all are increasing their awareness and understanding as they learn about elderly people

The elderly have a lifetime of knowledge to share and they find so much joy in playing with the children, often making them reminisce about earlier years in life