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|Project Title: ||Music and Movement with Elders|
|School Year: ||2007|
|School - District:||Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School - Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public (District)|
|Contact Name:||Deirdre Arthen|
|Contact Phone:||(413) 268-3421|
|Content-Area(s):||Arts, Comprehensive Health|
|Community Need:||Human Needs|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
The class of 16 K-1 students traveled to Hampshire Care nursing home once a week for a month to visit with some of the lower-functioning residents there who live in a fairly isolated and limited environment. During their visits the children and elders sang familiar songs together and played movement games including using a parachute, bringing lively activity into the quiet and staid environment.
Before the visits students had an orientation and training that covered: What to expect from the Elders, growing older and changing bodies, how to make friends with someone who is different, what to say and do when talking with an Elder, the importance of hand washing and keeping hands germ free, how to ride on a school bus, and so on. The children also thought about goals for the project and why it was important. First graders in the room shared their experience of the program from the year before with the younger students in the classroom.
The students learned new songs that would be familiar to the residents and also learned new movement activities that they could bring home to their own classroom.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The K-1 students addressed the social needs of isolated elders as they learned about health and their community. Since this specific program was a part of a school-wide connection with the nursing home partner, their prioritization of specific needs came out of class discussion and was based on information provided by staff and the experiences of the 1st graders who were in the program last year.
|Service Component: |
Because of the context of a whole-school CSL program and because of their young age, students were given significant parameters by their teachers and the CSL staff within which they were able to make choices and decisions. The class made four 45 minute visits to Hampshire Care during which time they sang with a group of 10 low-functioning residents, played musical instruments with them and engaged in movement games including using a parachute. This population is among the most isolated in our society since they are not able to engage in many other planned activities at the nursing home. The impact of the children’s visit was powerful and moving. It made a real difference in these people’s lives.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
The K-1 students practice singing together in their classroom and in music class on a regular basis. For this project they learned new songs that would be familiar to the residents at the nursing home and practiced them as well. They also learned new ways to use some of the instruments at school so that they could then play with the elders. They students successfully continued to use the songs and instruments after the project ended.
Massachusetts Framework Connections:
Music 3.2, 3.2;
Dance 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 1.7
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
At the initial planning session all students were involved in strategizing the best ways to make the project a success – then, in the reflection sessions, they were able to suggest changes that might improve the following visit. Each student also had a particular “buddy” with whom they were able to develop a fairly independent relationship. Many of those relationships were empowering to the students because they could see the ability they had to have a positive impact on someone else’s life.
|Student Reflection Component: |
After each visit to Hampshire Care, the students spent 20 minutes together discussing the time spent there. They evaluated the success of the various songs, partnerships and other activities of the visit and made plans for the coming visit accordingly. They also had the opportunity to share what they noticed, learned and felt while they were there. Many lessons were learned about aging, disabilities and differences among people.
“My buddy didn’t remember which hand to shake so I just shook the hand closest to me. She was blind so I had to help her by touching” reported one student
“My buddy was missing a lot of teeth. I noticed that”
After one visit the students cried on the bus ride home. “When I left, my buddy was crying.” explained one student. “She gave us a kiss and said she missed us when we left.” This led into more discussion about what it is like to grow older and live in a nursing home.
When asked at the end of the project to reflect on its intent and success. The students were enthusiastic. “We had fun with them and with each other. I like the parachute a LOT!”
“We made them happy”.
|Community Partners Involved: |
Our partner of five years is the Hampshire Care Long Term Care Facility. The school’s CSL staff works closely with the staff there in the advance planning and in the execution of every project. The Hampshire Care Project Coordinator visited the class in advance to participate in the sensitivity-training and planning of the specifics for the project
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
Each year the school holds its end-of-the-year celebration under a big tent at Hampshire Care. It is attended by all of the Hilltown students, teachers and many parents as well as by all of the involved residents, staff and some of their families. Students from each class reflect on their year at school and in the program, sing songs and recite poetry. The 8th grade students pass on the mantle of “oldest” to the 7th graders and gifts are exchanged between the residents and the students.
|Evaluation of Project's Impact:|
At the end of the series of visits the students meet and review the initial intent of the project and evaluate its success. The class used our existing template of discussion questions to talk about the needs they intended to meet, the studies they wanted to include, how they thought it would work, whether they had to change and adapt methods as they went along, and whether it ultimately met everyone’s expectations. Suggestions were also made for what might work better next year if another class chose to do something similar.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
At this point the obstacles are mostly minor. We have a well-established program and a wonderful relationship with our partner institution.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.