In an Australian first, a South Australian Montessori school has been opened on the same block of land as an aged care centre, bringing together young and old.
Southern Montessori Education Centre is one of two Montessori schools in South Australia. It offers classes for children from 8 months of age through to Year 9.
The school is excited about the relationship that has been established with Kalyra Communities (Aged Care) and looks forward to a long term partnership.
The school environment has been designed and constructed to be inclusive of people with a range of needs, enabling small groups of residents to visit classrooms and participate in lessons. These will primarily be art and craft lessons but there will be times when residents can join in Mathematics, Science and English lessons.
Students get to visit Kalyra residents regularly and can talk with residents in common areas. They can work in the garden and kitchen and sometimes provide background music in the lounge and dining rooms.
Students are being trained as baristas so they can work in Kalyra’s new cafeteria.
There are also plans to use the Kalyra activity room for drama plays and musical recitals. Students will also be able to help build a pizza oven for the aged cate centre in coming months.
Southern Montessori said this partnership provides authentic opportunities to experience society as it really is and to foster mutual respect between generations.
Through listening to the experiences, challenges and achievements of older people, students are can build empathy and insights into the resilience needed to face adversity. Aged care residents can learn about the young people’s world, about evolving technologies and open up their imaginations.
A comprehensive orientation and induction program is also being implemented. While there will be occasions, such as the death of a resident that students may find particularly upsetting, this forms an important component of the orientation and induction program. Death and illness are natural occurrences and students will be supported through the grief process.