“It was a very fun, meaningful and rare experience. I learnt to empathise with others and put myself in their shoes.”
12-year-old Natasya Lim was sharing her thoughts after completing her stint at the Intergenerational Learning Programme (ILP) organised by Sree Narayana Mission (Singapore) [SNM].
This particular ILP saw students from her school, Greenwood Primary School, as well as other students from Rainbow Centre Singapore, sharing their knowledge in art with 15 of Sree Narayana Mission’s elderly residents.
The programme started in 2018 with students between the ages of 10 and 12. Ninety of the art pieces were eventually selected and showcased at SNM’s 70th Anniversary Charity Dinner on 10 May 2019. Of these, 10 of the best art pieces were presented for a silent auction at the charity event.
Intergenerational programmes such as these help to strengthen bonds between youths and seniors in a group learning environment.
Through its hands-on, mental and social activities, these programmes give seniors a chance to learn new skills, make new friends, as well as share their own experiences with the younger generation. For the youths, it lets them apply their knowledge, develop values and gain respect for seniors. For some, they may even brush up on their dialects from the interaction.
“I get to teach new skills to seniors and friends from another school. It was exciting as I get to improve my communication skills. I also learnt to become more patient in the process,” said Keira Fong, a Primary 6 Greenwood Primary School student, of her experience.
“It has been a wonderful experience working with friends across different age groups. The enthusiasm to learn and pick up new art techniques is very inspiring as it creates a new synergy, despite the different learning capabilities we are equipped with.
"Such initiatives also create a new level of friendship with the parents of these students, who are very supportive of this meaningful collaboration,” said Mr K Ramachandran, SNM ILP participant and Chairperson, SNM Resident’s Committee (2018 – 2019).
Moving forward, SNM hopes to echo similar initiatives through collaborations with other community partners to raise more awareness on intergenerational programmes in the community.