on the Thursday, September 6, 2018
Marie Furrugia lost the last of her four grandparents earlier this year. Having adored them deeply, she wanted to ensure that her own daughter and son experienced this special bond. As the owner of a Childcare centre, Marie found a solution that would benefit her children, their peers and enrich the lives of older persons in her community.
The Teenie Weenies Learning Centre, based in Revesby is owned by Marie and her brother who have been passionately caring for and teaching children in a home-like environment for almost eight years. Marie and her brother’s children both attend the centre daily.
“As a family-oriented day-centre, we really wanted to be involved in the community,” explains Marie.
“We started off writing to Holy Spirit earlier in the year just to see if they were interested in forming a partnership, and it turns out they were incredibly keen!”
Today was the first visit between the intergenerational groups, and despite never meeting before, it was obvious how delighted the children were in welcoming their new guests, with a mutual appreciation from the residents of Holy Spirit.
Sharing song, dance, colouring-in and ball games, the children actively approached many of the Holy Spirit residents for free-play, to the surprise and delight of staff.
One regular visitor of the childcare centre, four-year-old Ally, even expressed how happy she was with her “new friends”.
“I want them to come and visit me more often,” she said.
More than 10 residents from Catholic Healthcare Holy Spirit Revesby joined the Teenie Weenie children, some of whom had never visited a childcare centre before, but as grandparents themselves, cherish the opportunity.
Marie says that the interaction she saw between her children and her own grandparents was one that was being replicated today.
“I saw the impact that being around older people had when my children were with their great-grandparents – they just immediately sparked up” she says.
“I’m so glad that we’ve had the opportunity to share that feeling with more children and more older people today.”
Marie and Catholic Healthcare’s Holy Spirit Revesby staff say they are both keen to continue the partnership for future play dates between the children and residents.
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