This school year, some of Watertown’s youngest students have added a new component to their curriculum—events with the town’s senior citizens. Preschool and elementary school students have trick-or-treated, performed a Thanksgiving play, listened to “Mrs. Mittens” read a winter story, and delivered valentines.
With the Phillips School building (adjacent to the Senior Center) now being used for some preschool classes, the partnership was welcomed and convenient, said Karen Feeney, Watertown’s Early Childhood director. “We are thrilled to collaborate with our neighbors as a way to foster community. The seniors have so much fun and the students love it. It’s a win-win!”
“It’s fun to see the students and seniors make each other laugh,” echoed preschool teacher Keri Gardiner, who coordinated the events.
“As a bonus, the students have learned some important social skills by being near the senior center. We walk by the senior center entrance to visit our playground, and the students now stop without being asked to let the seniors pass,” said fellow preschool teacher Tina Cobuccio.
Likewise, the close proximity of the assisted living facility Brigham House and the Hosmer School makes it easy to schedule frequent visits. First-grade students recently sang love- and friendship-themed songs under the direction of music teacher Sara Patashnick, then delivered more than 100 handmade valentines to residents.
“The smiles the students bring the residents are so heartwarming,” said Hosmer first grade teacher Laura Massa. “Our visits remind the kids how powerful a kind gesture can be, and how important it is to remember all of Watertown’s residents.”
Anne-Marie Gagnon, the director of the Council on Aging, agreed. “Intergenerational programs are a great way for members of the community to find common ground,” she said. “We are always looking to expand the scope of our events for Watertown’s older population. The cooperation with the schools is a wonderful avenue for us.”
More programs are already in the works, including musical performances, movement classes, and craft projects.
(Submitted by Hosmer Parent Laura Daly)