The 'Little Owls' project and the benefits of toddlers visiting care homes
Residents at a care home in Toft, near Cambridge, are benefiting from regular visits by a lively group of local toddlers. The visits are part of the ‘Little Owls’ project run by local childminders.
The 'Little Owls' project
The 'Little Owls' project is the brainchild of Cambridge childminders, Nat Jackson and Amanda Strong. They and their colleagues take seven children aged 1 to 4 to visit the Home Meadow care home every week on a Monday. The toddlers spend not just a couple of hours at the care home, but the whole day! Home Meadow has a dedicated room for resting and lunch time. Residents can join in with the toddlers as they please and can take part in activities such as singing, arts and crafts and dancing.
The 'Little Owls' project began with pilot sessions back in December. The children visited the home to join in festive activities such as card-making and decorations. After posting the videos on Facebook, the project coordinators were inundated with donations. Now the weekly sessions are having several benefits on both the elderly residents and the toddlers.
The benefits of mixing old and young
Studies have shown that care coming from a mix of generations can have significant positive effects on people living with dementia. The 'Little Owls' project has certainly proved this.
Many residents at the care home live with dementia and the interaction with the children has proved to be stimulating for the residents and some light relief for their carers.
Having the children at the home is like a medicine to the residents. Many of the people here live with dementia and spending time with the young ones brings them joy and happiness that is so lovely to see. Some of them have formed very tight bonds with the children and seeing them on a Monday is the highlight of their week.
Home Meadow care home activities coordinator
Video Overview (2:34)
See the 'Little Owls' project in action and hear from those involved on the benefits it is bringing to the Home Meadow care home.