Victor Harbor playgroup brings together young and old

The Victor Harbor Library is combating social isolation by taking a cue from reality TV.

Sep 14, 2023, updated Jan 31, 2024
Bookings are not required at the intergenerational Victor Harbor playgroup. Photo: supplied

Bookings are not required at the intergenerational Victor Harbor playgroup. Photo: supplied

The library recently launched an intergenerational playgroup inspired by the ABC documentary series Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds.

The playgroup aims to build connections by inviting those over the age of 65 and families with children to share in story reading, songs, nursery rhymes and other relaxed activities together.

Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins said intergenerational activities could minimise isolation and nurture mutual respect.

“This is an excellent program for retirees or people over the age of 65 who feel isolated. The sessions are all about connecting, learning, and having fun in a safe environment,” she said.

“There is so much to be learnt when we spend time with others. Every generation holds a wealth of knowledge that is waiting to be uncovered.”

Victor Harbor playgroup

A council spokesperson said the playgroup had been extremely popular with the local community since launching in August.

“Even though there’s only been a couple that have happened to date, I believe the last one (playgroup) had over 30 participants,” the spokesperson said.

The program was also a great social opportunity for elderly residents to connect with the community.

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“One of the key aims of the initiative with our older demographic down here in Victor (is) being able to give them an opportunity to engage with different people in the community,” the spokesperson said.

The library team always looked for new initiatives to engage the local community and first trialled the intergenerational playgroup earlier this year.

“It worked really, really well, so that’s why they decided to launch it as an official ongoing initiative,” the spokesperson said.

“They’ve had quite an overwhelming response so far, which is really fantastic.

“I definitely think that there’s a huge interest in the community and they’re probably going to keep it going.”

According to the ABC’s Annual Report 2020-21, the second season of Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds was its second-highest rated non-children’s program in 2021, with 1.4 million total viewers across television and ABC iView.

“After several weeks of activities with 4 year olds, the adults were less frail or depressed. They reported improved mood, confidence, physical strength and appetite,” the report said.

“The social experiment restored their sense of connection and fun.”

The Victor Harbor Library is located at 1 Bay Road, Victor Harbor, and the Intergenerational Playgroup takes place fortnightly on Thursdays at 10am.

Bookings are not required and participants are invited to come along and try a session.

For more information, contact the Victor Harbor Library on 8551 0730 or [email protected].

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