Stock photo: Fotolia

The Peconic Community School has developed an approach to intergenerational learning by teaming up with Peconic Landing and the Riverhead Senior Center.

School personnel have said they have prioritized intergenerational learning over the past several years and are now forging a relationship with Peconic Landing and its members in Greenport through monthly visits by students. These visits have included opportunities for students and seniors to collaborate on community service projects, play chess, ping-pong, and pool, and most recently students read excerpts from The Little Prince to over 20 Peconic Landing members.

PCS student Jude, age 12 says “I really like the idea of us kids doing activities with the older people. The students learn skills like public speaking, social skills, and learning how to communicate with older people. Not a lot of kids get to learn this and I know it sounds weird, but it’s important.”

Future visits will find students and Peconic Landing members gardening together, playing bocce, and cleaning up the beach on a beach walk. In addition, later this month students will head down to the Riverhead Recreation center to perform a short musical concert for seniors as they enjoy their lunch.

According to a press release issued by the PCS, “the benefits of intergenerational learning are two-fold. Valuable for students are the relationships which improve children’s view of aging, encourage compassion, and promote social skill development. And for senior citizens, research shows that regular interaction with children is linked to decreased loneliness, delayed mental decline, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of disease and most importantly, increased chance of laughter! Connecting generations is mutually beneficial as they enhance empathy, and by connecting they can apply their diverse ideas, perspectives, and experiences to common community issues and concerns. Beyond all this, witnessing the joy evident in both populations is profound.”

“There are countless ways to share what we care about at Peconic Community School with our broader community, and as a community school it is an important part of the mission and vision,” says PCS co-director Liz Casey Searl.

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