A unique intergenerational program at Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon teaches Grade 6 students lessons in empathy, compassion, leadership and kindness along with math, English and the usual subjects.
“iGen is the school of real life,” said Keri Albert who, with Callie Spafford, teaches the program, a partnership between Sherbrooke and the Saskatoon Public School Division.
Albert and Spafford include residents in lesson plans and follow The Eden Alternative® philosophy practiced at Sherbrooke. The The Eden Alternative® is dedicated to creating quality of life for seniors and their care partners. Sherbrooke, an affiliate of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, provides housing, support and programming to people who are elderly and those who have a disability or other health need.
Students participating in iGen, now in its fourth year, attend school at Sherbrooke. Most of their days are committed to learning Grade 6 curriculum, which has been adapted to life in a long-term care home, and forming relationships with residents and staff. Students participate in gym and band classes at nearby École College Park School.
This year’s group of 25 students did an exceptional job of making a positive difference in their own and residents’ lives.
Pictured are some special moments from the 2017-18 school year.
This year’s class was active in the community, increasing awareness about their work with Sherbooke residents and the We Day/Free the Children Committee (a committee of students and residents who focus on community issues) in May in Saskatoon’s Broadway neighbourhood. Students, residents and staff took part in The Walk N’ Rollin’ on Broadway event that raised awareness about wheelchair accessibility in Saskatoon. Groups of students and residents were stationed at street corners along Broadway Avenue, speaking with people about why wheelchair accessibility is an important issue. The event was featured on the evening news on local television stations.
When studying Canadian history, what better resource for iGen students than the veterans living in Sherbrooke. To commemorate Remembrance Day, students learned about the medals our veterans were awarded during their military service and then used slabs of clay to create their own medals. These clay medals, which our veterans also made, featured a word that students and veterans thought represented their character.
Michael Bradford, principal of École College Park School in Saskatoon and a published author, spent time with students and residents explaining the writing process and why writing is so important. In April, students and residents held an exhibition of their writing at Sherbrooke and inspired the community to put pen to paper.
In November, the We Day/Free the Children Committee raised money and gathered 124 kilograms of food for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre. Students and residents delivered the food to the food bank and received a tour of the facility. Students and residents said it was an eye-opening experience to learn how vital the food bank’s services are for Saskatoon.
It’s not every day an award-winning journalist does a radio documentary about your class, but that was the case in June when CBC Radio’s David Gutnick spent two days at Sherbrooke learning about the iGen program. David also spoke with students and residents about what makes a good story and why journalism is important. The documentary will air on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition this September.
The iGen class braved stormy weather to spend a night camping at Wanuskewin Heritage Park. During the day, students and residents learned about Indigenous culture and the historical significance of Wanuskewin. They also saw a jingle dress dance performance.