Mutual visits build friendships

Posted on: May 31, 2019

For many years, Teresa Langton’s third-grade classes have made monthly visits to The Estates at Delano to build relationships with residents there.

On Thursday, May 30, about 10 Estates residents returned the favor and met the students at Delano Elementary School. Their field trip was made possible by the help of volunteers who pushed their wheelchairs up the hill to the school.

“Our residents have really been looking forward to this,” said Karen Elsenpeter, who handles activities for The Estates. “Every month I hear, ‘When are the kids coming? When are the kids coming?’” 

This time it was the students who were eagerly anticipating the visits, ushering their friends from the elevator through the school to the second-floor multi-purpose room. A short program followed that included three plays, a performance on recorders, and refreshments.

Langton said the regular visits are an opportunity for her students to learn outside the classroom, and the inter-generational relationships are meaningful on both sides.

“It’s about nurturing friendships,” she said. “Some kids don’t have grandparents near, so these are like grandparents to them.”

Elsenpeter said the 20-25 residents who typically meet with the students view the relationships the same way, and enjoy pairing up or gathering in small groups to play cards, do crafts and enjoy music together.

“I’m really impressed with how the kids interact with them,” said Elsenpeter. “It’s amazing.”

What do the students enjoy most about their time at The Estates?

“Just getting to know them,” said third-grader Stan Tur.

“My favorite part was asking what their childhoods were like and interviewing them,” said Liam Langner.

“I’ve enjoyed making new friends,” said Claire Taylor. 

Aniston Klaphake said she appreciated the way residents cooperated with the students in various activities, and Isaac Schoen-Behnke said he enjoyed the conversations. Other students said they liked sharing gifts with the residents and decorating their doors, or performing for them.

In a message posted on The Estates’ Facebook page after the visit, the facility thanked Langton and her students for the unique field trip.

“Our residents adore the visits and watching the children grow mentally and physically,” the message said in part. “We had the best time and look forward to making this an annual trip.”

Post Categories: Elementary School