Middleburg Hts.1st graders learn from senior citizens | Schools
Some of the favorite moments for first-graders at Big Creek Elementary School in Middleburg Heights are the ones they spend with people more than 10 times their age.
It happens at 1:30 every Thursday afternoon, when up to a dozen residents from the senior living community Emeritus at Brookside Estates come to the school to read, make crafts, share experiences and most important, develop friendships with the youngsters.
They rotate among the six first-grade classrooms on a weekly basis.
"The children love it," said first-grade teacher Kristy Krajniak. "They look forward to it and when it's not the week for the Brookside residents visit our classroom, they're disappointed."
Christine Gipson, life enrichment director at Emeritus at Brookside Estates, said: "Our residents feel very strongly about this program with the first-graders. It's more than just a community service project for them; they develop true personal bonds with the children."
The program is now in its second year and Gipson noted that one of the Brookside Estates participants is a former teacher.
Krajniak agrees that the relationships between the students and the seniors are deep.
"We see a real emotional attachment develop between our students and the Brookside residents. And our children learn so much. The seniors are such excellent role models and they're able to teach the youngsters about the past and why it's important. I would recommend this program to other schools."
Emeritus at Brookside Estates is at 15435 Bagley Rd., Middleburg Heights. It offers retirement and assisted living as well as the Join Their Journey program of care for those with Alzheimer's and other memory impairments.