We have teamed up with the charity Foodshare to encourage schools to visit residential care homes this Christmas. It is a Values-in-Action project.
The goal of the campaign is for schools to help address loneliness in the community and to develop a stronger sense of community.
It also has a potential impact on breaking the cycle of poverty. This is where children born into poverty are far more likely to live in poverty as adults.
The charity Foodshare runs a foodbank. We understand that around one-third of the people who are referred to them for help do not collect their food. It is part of a cycle of shame that prevents people from accepting help even when they most need it. This campaign was designed to help reduce the sense of shame. When parents see the normality of their children helping people who are lonely, frail or otherwise disadvantaged, it should help to reduce their own sense of shame in accepting help from their community.
Care Home Visits
School Guide to Visiting Care Homes
To download our guide for schools on visiting care homes, click here
We encourage schools to visit residential or nursing care homes for people who are elderly or disadvantaged.
The purpose of this initiative is to bring joy to residents and to help students and their families to develop a stronger sense of self and of community and to nurture students’ values-based relational skills.
It can take time for some students to feel comfortable participating during visits. It limits the benefits afforded to them. So we have created a free series of sing-along videos to help break the ice. The concept is that visits will revolve around a sing-along with the residents and students to help everyone to connect with each other more easily.
The benefits of students visiting residential care homes, both to residents and students are listed below. We encourage schools to visit a local home either once a term or once a year to strengthen the benefits.
The Tom Seals’ Sing-Alongs
The Playlist on YouTube
To see the playlist directly in YouTube, click the link below:
Benefits to Students
- Improved social development: spending time with the older generation outside of their home allows them to practice their social skills
- Positive reinforcement: the older generation often observes children without judgement, showering the children with positive reinforcement through words and body language
- Expanded knowledge: discussions where children talk about things other than themselves
- Broadened worldview; Visits help children understand the world beyond their direct experiences
- Enjoyment: Visits are simply entertaining, hearing the older generation share their stories, talking about different parts of the world and hearing about games before computers were invented.
- Improved mental health: Visits offer space for children to open up about personal and emotive feelings without worrying about being judged or misunderstood
Improved Relational Skills
- Children learn to take care of the elderly and start to understand about different physical abilities
- Nurtures empathy for others, seeing how hard it can be for frail people to do simple tasks
- Children experience the enjoyment of helping others first-hand, which improves their understanding of the benefits to both them and others of positive social interactions.
- Improved language development
- Improved self-confidence
- Improved listening and vocabulary skills
- Improved abstracted reasoning and thinking ability
- Higher cognitive performance with more accurate judgement of risks and uncertainties
Benefits for the Elderly
- Visits bring joy to residents
- Children bring diversity and stimulation to the daily routines of the residents
- Visits provide a social boost with new connections, which in turn gives rise to physical health benefits
Impact on Poverty
- Parents of children in poverty who visit homes witness their children helping others. It helps to normalise the idea that close communities help each other making it less humiliating for them to accept help from others
- Parents of children not in poverty who visit homes witness the positive impact of their children helping others. They become less inclined to judge people who are disadvantaged through age, disability and, in many cases, poverty.
- As the social barriers of stigma weaken, it opens up more opportunities for people in poverty to get out of poverty. There is a strong correlation between children born into poverty and their poverty into adulthood. This initiative should help students break away from this cycle of deprivation.