Meadows Project Takes Root and Grows – September 2008
Vernon Morning Star
By Cara Brady – Vernon Morning Star
Published: September 26, 2008 4:00 PM
The Meadows School Project developed by Kidston School teacher Sharon MacKenzie and Coldstream Meadows Retirement Community is attracting interest across the province and the country.
Thanks to sponsorship from Calgary-based DIRTT Environmental Solutions and Spider Manufacturing Inc. of Kelowna, both owned by Mogens Smed, an old school friend of MacKenzie’s, she is taking this year for speaking to educators and helping those who want to start the project in their own areas.
MacKenzie formed the i2i intergenerational society to help seniors and kids see “eye to eye” on intergenerational immersion programs like The Meadows School Project.
“The society will raise funds to help other groups get started on any level of intergenerational activities, although the term The Meadows School Project is copyrighted and refers only to the immersion form where the students move into a retirement community as we have done at Coldstream Meadows. I want to make as many places as I can aware of and partners in intergenerational immersion,” said MacKenzie, speaking with characteristic enthusiasm.
“Campbell River is starting a project with Grade 9 visiting a retirement residence once a week and I’ll be interested to hear how it works with older students. I am working with a campus of care facility and a school in the Lower Mainland that is under development so they can have the project when they open.”
The Meadows School Project will continue locally with Kidston School teacher Lillian Helm taking students to Coldstream Meadows for eight weeks this fall.
MacKenzie has had interest in the project from the University of Victoria and the University of Portland as well as requests from training institutions to speak to gerontology students about the health benefits of intergenerational projects. A team at UBCO has received funding to evaluate The Meadows School Project which is the only one of its kind in North America.
“The benefits of intergenerational immersion for everyone involved are immense. I hope to see five full-immersion projects in place in the province or in Alberta and Ontario by fall 2009. And then, who knows?” she said, smiling.
MacKenzie is working in partnership with BC Care Providers, The Ministry of Health and will be publishing a book on The Meadows School Project in December. For more information see www.intergenerational.ca