Montgomery Village PS connecting students with seniors through GrandPals program
For Immediate Release
May 11, 2016
GUELPH, Ontario – A project in Orangeville is using technology to bring together students and seniors, bridging generations and the digital divide.
Montgomery Village Public School started the “GrandPals” initiative five years ago, but it has evolved from year to year. Most recently, the school began using Google Chromebox for Meeting to connect the groups through live video conferencing.
The school worked with a local retirement home and asked if there were any seniors who would be willing to meet weekly, with the goal of creating relationships. Many seniors were willing to share their lives with the children.
The school set up a Chromebox in both the classroom and in the library of a local retirement home, allowing the groups to meet regularly, without worry of transportation, illness or any other barriers.
Many of the seniors don’t get to have regular connections with grandchildren, said retirement home staff – several of them don’t have any visitors. The GrandPals program allows them to read to the children, get to know each other and in many cases develop genuine friendships.
The program encourages seniors to remain deeply connected with the community and students benefit from the wisdom of their elders, said MVPS teacher Marc Mailhot.
The team behind GrandPals has grown to include a small network of seniors, educators, librarians and staff from retirement residents. In hopes of expanding the initiative to other locations, the group is making information on setting up the program available to others online.
The Upper Grand District School Board is hoping to expand the program this spring.
- About GrandPals
- Getting started with GrandPals
- Seniors bond with elementary students (via City News)
For more information:
Heather Loney, Communications and Community Engagement Officer
Upper Grand District School Board