A Visit from the PreK kids at ASU Child Development Lab

July 28 2022

Research has documented a wide range of benefits for everyone when generations are connected in positive ways. In a report by Generations United, babies and preschoolers benefit from being around older adults by higher levels of interactive play , Improved abilities with cooperative play, Improved empathy, Greater social acceptance, Better vocabulary and language abilities. Older adults benefit through decreased social isolation, improved quality of life and purpose in life, improved self-worth, cognitive health improvement, reduced falls and frailty, increased strength and balance, learned new skills, leadership proficiencies, and knowledge.

A mere 3-minute walk from Mirabella at ASU is the ASU Child Development Lab (CDL) a part of the Center for Child and Family Success within the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics.

Students studying Early Childhood Education and other related disciplines gain valuable experience working with children while earning credit, while the children benefit from the increased interaction with dedicated, energetic young adults.

By connecting this program to the residents at Mirabella, we are exploring yet another layer of mutual benefit and connectivity between the different generations.

On June 29, 2022, thirteen kids from the Young Preschool Program (ages 2-3 years old) were invited to take one of their campus field trips to visit Mirabella at ASU for the first time. They arrived in a parade of wagons, donning bright yellow reflector vests and lanyards signaling their affiliation with the CDL.

Residents had planned a full agenda for their hour-long visit, and the large auditorium space was completely cleared of chairs and tables to create a wide open space for them to play and expend their energy knowing that the Arizona summer has been too hot for them to spend much time getting their wiggles out outside.

They entered the building and were amazed to find the entire Lifelong Learning Auditorium filled with two stations: boxes and balls. On one side of the room was about 30 empty cardboard boxes of various sizes that they could stack and topple over, crawl through, and hide under.  The other side of the room were dozens of balls of various sizes that they could bounce, roll and chase around the room. There were lots of opportunities for creative play with these materials!

We gave them a snack of fruit and a granola bar that they enjoyed while the residents Eric and Sue read them a book. Later the residents sang them songs lead by resident Bob who played “This Ole’ Man” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It” on the guitar.

Great fun was had by all, and we are already planning their next visit to Mirabella!