Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds brought to Narrogin by St Matthews and Karinya Residential Care

Campbell WilliamsonNarrogin Observer
Mia Forrest and Joan Broun.
Camera IconMia Forrest and Joan Broun.

Residents from Karinya Residential Care and kindergarten students from St Matthew’s School in Narrogin are staging their own version of the popular TV show Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds.

Inspired by the hit ABC documentary series, students and residents with an age gap of up to 90 years have bonded over storytelling, painting and bracelet-making.

Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds took a group of older adults living alone and put them in an intergenerational play school with a group of lively four-year-olds.

St Matthew’s School acting principal Mark Tenney said seeing both groups to benefit from each other “just gold”.

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The aim is for the sessions to happen every three weeks.

“A lot of the residents might not have family around here or might not have family at all, so for them to have a visit and get out and interact was great for their health,” he said.

“The show kind of tracked the mental health and wellbeing of the residents, and seeing our kids develop empathy, understanding and compassion was just great.”

A similar initiative had previously been run by St Matthew’s with Year 4, 5 and 6 classes, but after seeing the TV show, the school decided it was time to get the little ones involved.

Flo Bertuloa and Aiden Mathew.
Camera IconFlo Bertuloa and Aiden Mathew.

Attempts to get the students to visit Karinya Residential Care initially hit a stumbling block, with students needing to have flu vaccinations before they could visit the home.

Not to be deterred, the school decided that if they could not go to the residents, then the residents could come to them.

“They would often tell little kids the stories about when they were their age and what the world was like — it was almost like a little history lesson,” Mr Tenney said. “There was a boy called Aiden who befriended a lady called Flo, and Aiden sort of took control and took her around on a grand tour.

“They loved it. It was so awesome to be a part of ... both parties got so much out of it.”

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