Intergenerational Learning (IGL) involving the youngest and oldest members of our society is not a strategy or approach formally recognized and validated in adult education, nor in training of professionals working with these age groups.
IGL is not yet part of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), elderly care services and community work, which results in many missed opportunities to improve social cohesion, solidarity, active and healthy ageing, positive development of children, and intergenerational dialogue.
The TOY Programme aims to bring to a global scale the TOY approach, which was initially developed as a European project.
For more information on the original TOY project, click here.
To develop this area, ICDI started the innovative ‘Together Old and Young Project’ or TOY in 2012 in collaboration with other organisations in seven EU countries. It was unique amongst European IGL projects with its explicit focus on children in the early childhood years (0-8).
TOY brought together the worlds of older people, volunteers who are older people (also known as senior volunteers), together with early childhood education and care, primary education and non-formal learning settings such as libraries, arts and cultural centres and community gardens. For the first time in a European project the learning connections between these ‘worlds’ were being researched, documented and supported.
Products and outcomes published on the project website show that intergenerational interchange between young children and older people indeed fosters citizenship, connectedness, involvement in community life and interaction between different social groups.
Our strategy in the TOY Programme is to work on three different levels: policy, local governance and practice.
– We will advocate at national and international level for the inclusion of a multigenerational approach in educational and social policies.
– Decision makers at local level will be invited to consider how this interaction can be enhanced in the local communities that they administer such as different age groups acting as volunteers, participants, facilitators or social grandparents.
– We will enlist support to develop innovative and online training for ECEC and social care practitioners to support them to implement intergenerational activities.
a. A stronger international network, including training organisations, practitioner organisations and organisations representing the needs of older people and young children, all of which recognises and gives visibility to IGL.
b. Increased availability of resources and exchange among practitioners, policy makers and researchers involved in IGL with young children and older people.
c. Increased number of IGL initiatives.