This spring COMPAS Teaching Artist Zoe Bird led a very special group of students in a poetry workshop. Kindergarten students from the TLC Early Learning Center in Bloomington, Minnesota traveled to Nine-Mile Creek Senior Living to learn about poetry side-by-side with older adults.
Zoe explains how it all worked;
“During the residency,teachers brought 10 kindergarteners to Nine-Mile each week. There, we talked about what we were going to do with the grandmas and grandpas, and effective and respectful ways of communicating with them.
Then we trooped down to memory care on the first floor, and the mixed group of ‘kinders’ and elders were together for 45 minutes in a collaborative poetry session (this was originally planned to be 30 minutes, but the kids and elders always seemed to want more time together!).
During each session, kids first went around the room and greeted each elder, then chose a place to sit next to a grandma or grandpa.
I can tell this program made a difference in the joy it brought all the participants, the affirmation of their creativity, and the many benefits of the two age groups’ increased exposure to each other. Karen (a teacher for 27 years) wrote, after our last, celebratory session: ‘This has been one of the best experiences I have had as a teacher.’ I’m so grateful to COMPAS for making this growth possible for all of us.”