This innovative Headstart program will bring preschool children and elderly people together under one roof at Chateau Sturgeon Lodge, where they will learn from each other in a way that benefits and brings joy to everyone involved.
Supports for the Legal Headstart program include a teacher, two educational assistants, a speech language therapist, an occupational therapist, a family support worker and an educational psychologist. The program runs Monday to Friday from 8:30 – 11:20 am. Most programming will occur in the main lodge area with opening circle and individual teaching times in two lodge rooms rented by the division.
Many studies document the benefits of IG shared-site programming for children and seniors. Children, for example, can help residents whose arthritic hands make fine motor skills difficult, and elders can help children with tasks such as spelling or elaborating on ideas (Heydon & Daly 2008). Research indicates that young children who are regularly exposed to older adults in their school perform better academically than their peers who do not get the same exposure. Prior to launching the new program, the Legal Headstart program had an existing relationship with the residents of Chateau Sturgeon Lodge, including monthly intergenerational (IG) learning opportunities where the seniors helped with craft activities.
The Headstart program is designed for children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 6 years who require extra support. Children accepted into these programs must be qualified through a screening process and meet the Alberta Special Education requirements for funding. To schedule a screening session, contact Beverly Sagert, Early Childhood Director, at 780-939-4341.