Kibler Elementary students, Living Court seniors bridge generation gap

Pat Anderson’s Kibler Elementary School classroom was a buzz with activity on a Friday afternoon in March. In one corner of the room, Evie Robertson quizzed students on fractions, while Megan Cornejo listened as students read stories they had written.

Robertson and Cornejo were among three or four Living Court residents who ventured out to visit their neighbors at the Enumclaw elementary school. The group was reciprocating. On a regular basis since school started in September, Anderson’s students have been taking the short stroll to Living Court to visit. While they are at the assisted living community, they sing songs, play bingo, exchange pen pal letters, do art projects together, go on scavenger hunts and do other activities with about 15 of the folks who live there.

Living Court’s Life Enrichment Director Kim Dunn sought out the nearby elementary school. She said the intergenerational interaction builds relationships.

“It makes their day,” Dunn said of the Living Court participants. “They build off the energy from the kids.”

“The residents faces just light up,” Anderson said of her class’ visits. “It’s been a totally positive experience for both sides.”

Anderson said her relationship with her grandparents and her children’s similar relationship spurred her to take up the offer to visit with “older friends” at Living Court.

“The kids like going,” she said. “They’ve realized they have a lot in common.”

Anderson said there is value in the relationships the two groups are building and it helps the children to see people at a different time in their life and hearing their stories.

Kibler Elementary School Principal Julene Miller said it’s been an enriching experience for Anderson’s class, as well as Kim Patrick and Kris Hughes’ students as well. Patrick and Hughes’ students have been visiting nearby Enumclaw Evergreen Rehabilitation Center on a regular basis for the past few years.

“We’re fortunate enough we can walk,” Miller said of both facilities.

Dunn said her group plans to return to Kibler this month and she and Anderson both hope to continue the program next year.

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