When ABC Nursery came to Hazelhurst

In April and May 2019 Age Exchange coordinated a 12 week intergenerational  project with Hazelhurst Extra Care Scheme run by Notting Hill Housing, ABC Nursery and Blackheath Conservatoire. The project was funded by Notting Hill Housing, The Blackheath Conservatoire and funding from the Downham Assembly.

The project brought children from ABC Nursery together with residents from Hazelhurst Court on Thursday mornings to work together with music and in arts workshops. One week the older residents also visited the children at the Nursery. We much appreciated the wonderful support given by owner Suzie and staff Leah and Stephanie and others at the Nursery.

Artist Selina Gani and musician Elliott Morris, from Blackheath Conservatoire,  led sessions where the children and older people sang and created songs and worked on making a series of musical instruments from cardboard tubes, elastic bands, bottle tops, paper plates, rice and bells. These lively sessions allowed the two groups to spend time together and get to know each other and there was lots of laughter, creativity and enthusiasm.

In the final session we held an informal concert led by Salina and Elliott using all the instruments we had made and sang the songs we had learnt over the 12 weeks.

It was great to see that the children and the older people formed genuine relationships and so enjoyed spending time together and sharing in the music and art activities.

Staff at ABC reported that:

“One shy child talks during the week about the instruments he makes with his older partner and he knew last week she had to go to hospital and missed her. Another child sees a lady she works with walking her dogs across the road from the nursery and recognises her. If the  residents pass the Nursery and we are in the garden the children wave and say hello”

“There was girl at the Nursery whose confidence was very low but since coming to Hazelhurst and joining in with the music with Elliott her confidence has grown and she has been leading ‘circle time’ at the Nursery”

“The parents are asking about the next session because the children are going home and talking about making the instruments with Salina and naming the older people and saying they are looking forward to seeing them again.”

“We wanted to join forces as we are so close to Hazelhurst and it was an amazing opportunity for the children at the nursery. Now that the project has officially finished we want to go on and keep doing the activities and building the relationship with the residents”

The residents responded by saying:

“A lot of residents here don’t see their grandchildren that often so it has been like a family day for us. The children are lovely and they have responded to us and we respond to them”

“The children are such fun. I just look forward to Thursday morning. There’s one little boy who always likes to see me and last week when I couldn’t be here I was told he was quite sad. But he was all smiles this week as I came back.”