Cotman House Care Home’s Weekly Toddlers’ Group Builds Early Intergenerational Bonds

21st March 2024

Cotman House Care Home has launched ‘Acorns to Oaks,’ a weekly toddlers’ drop-in group for local parents and children aged up to four years old.

The name ‘Acorns to Oaks’ was chosen by Cotman’s Wellbeing Coordinator, Jenny, and a group of residents and parents, who thought it symbolised the journey from youth to maturity and acknowledges the importance of interaction between the generations as children learn and grow.

A Highlight of the Week for Residents

The session is held between 10am and 12 noon every Thursday morning and has become a highlight of the week for both residents and families. With the attendance averaging around six children, plus parents, it’s easy for participants of all ages to throw off any early inhibitions and enjoy the companionship, and there are drinks and biscuits as an added incentive!

Cotman House has a dedicated wellbeing team who take charge of organising the toddlers’ group activities, which are mostly spontaneous play with soft and hard toys. Everything is designed to encourage interaction between the two age groups and the residents particularly like Lego building and colouring in with the children. The recent World Book Day was celebrated by reading with the children and one little girl came in dressed up as the Gruffalo, which added to the sense of occasion.

Playtime with Benefits for All

Home Manager, Kirsty Allen, is keen to highlight the role that intergenerational interaction plays in enriching the lives of the residents, explaining, "The toddlers’ group provides a wonderful opportunity for our residents to spend quality time with young children, share stories, and rediscover the joy of play.”

However, the benefits for both residents and children extend beyond socialisation. Research indicates positive effects on cognitive function, emotional wellbeing, and overall quality of life for both age groups. For toddlers, interacting with older adults can teach them empathy, patience, and social skills, while older adults often experience increased feelings of purpose, vitality, and companionship.

Playing a Positive Role in the Local Community

Hosting the toddlers’ group is also a way of supporting the local community, and the care home is recognised as a place where everybody is welcome. Kirsty added, “What’s lovely is the sense of community the group has created, and we often see children who used to take part when they were younger popping in with their parents during the school holidays to say hello to the residents.”

Local families have welcomed the opportunity to participate in the toddlers’ group, recognising the value it offers as their children are learning and developing. Marley, a dad who regularly attends with his toddler, said, "The group has been a great addition to our weekly routine. It's lovely to see how the children and residents interact and bond over the activities they do together, and how much pleasure it brings them.” Residents at Cotman House feel the same sense of joy, with Pat saying, “I love to hold their little hands in mine.”

The toddlers’ group at Cotman House Care Home is a great example of the positive impact that community-based initiatives can have on people of all ages. There’s plenty of laughter during the activity sessions and a sense of friendships being built across the generations, with these shared experiences all part of creating a vibrant and inclusive community. Resident Mary said, “It is lovely to see how the children grow from little acorns to oaks” and we couldn’t agree more!

Welcome to Cotman House

Cotman House Care Home is situated within the beautiful seaside surroundings of Felixstowe and our environment is matched by the standard of care we deliver, where care is not just a service, but a commitment tailored to every resident. Our focus goes beyond the physical; we extend our care to encompass the unique needs of each individual, whether it's assisting with memory loss, providing specialised dementia care, or offering support with end-of-life care.

At Cotman House, we understand the challenges families face during difficult times, and that's why we take pride in our accreditation for 'End of Life' care. We're here to support not only your loved ones but your entire family through this journey.

Our vibrant and happy home isn't just about the physical space; it's a thriving community. Perfect for those who may be feeling lonely, Cotman House fosters an environment where residents find companionship and joy.

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