Intergenerational Dance in Rochester
Intergen is what we call it when children and young people visit Active Armchairs for and intergenerational dance session. They’re always great events, incredibly inspiring, lots of fun, rewarding and uplifting.
When year 6 pupils from St Andrew’s School visited Rochester Care Home, Erica facilitated a wonderful class for everyone. She’s written about it here and there’s a video that includes participant feedback too.
Intergen In Rochester, written by Erica
I arrived at Rochester Care Home to find the residents and staff all eagerly waiting. There was a buzz in the air for the arrival of the year 6 children from St Andrew’s School, and once they arrived, we exchanged salutations and started the session.
It was a summer holiday adventure that would take us around the globe. Our warm up not only got our bodies moving, but it was also lovely to hear so many of the residents singing away too to ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning’. Even some of the children picked up the lyrics of the song and joined in too!
With the help of one of the school pupils, we handed out egg shakers to everyone to dance along to La Bamba. A Spanish resident was overjoyed at this choice of song and even rose to her feet and gave us an impromptu solo dance performance. It was delightful to see her clearly enjoying herself and she soon had the whole room in stitches of laughter. She even got a couple of the children up to dance with her. This really was a magic moment from the session to see different generations coming together to enjoy dance.
Next, I got my big scrunchie out for us all to hold and to make waves like the sea all together for ‘Surfin USA’. As a group, we discussed if anyone had been surfing before and several of the children shared their experiences with us.
Several of the children were eager to assist me again in handing out Hawaiian leis to everyone and one young chap did a fantastic job of helping to put them on those that were struggling to do it themselves. We commented how it made us feel like we were knighted them like the King would. We even called some of the residents Queen Jo and Queen Lil. This really brightened up the room ready for some hula hands and shaking the coconuts down from the palm trees movements. I even quizzed the children if they knew which film the song came from, and was surprised when one of the carers knew it was from Lilo and Stitch – Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride.
It was then time for a game, and I enlisted the help of another pupil to throw the beach ball to everyone. Again it was splendid to see the interaction between young and old and seeing the residents big arm movements during the game and smiles on their faces really felt great.
I then opened the floor up to a discussion of where we love to go on holiday. The children in particular were keen to share their exotic travels and we soon discovered they had been to various destinations including Sri Lanka, India, Jamaica, Japan and Dubai. What international jet setters they are!
Finally, to round off our adventure around the globe we danced to the Locomotion by Kylie Minogue. This was an instant hit and I enjoyed seeing virtually all of the residents singing along to it. We got our train arms going and I got all the children up to make our own Locomotion and dance around the lounge.
It was such a fun, warming intergenerational event which clearly benefited all those who were involved. I really do love my job and it was an honour to lead the session. One resident said afterwards “I feel like you’ve knocked 30 years off me! Please tell me when you are coming back”. What a polite group of year 6 pupils, who were nothing but encouraging, respectful and joyous.
A strong bond has now been formed between St.Andrews School and Rochester Care Home and hopefully this will lead to more intergenerational events in the future.
A video with more photos, participants telling you about the session and some Locomotion!