The Children are Coming

"The children are coming, the children…here come the children!" These excited whispers greet the children from Childpeace Montessori Community at The Terrace. We walk in small groups down the hallway to the residents' dining room to celebrate an elder's birthday, being sure our movements are controlled and quiet so we do not startle our resident friends. The children offer their handmade soap and cards along with songs and smiles on this special day.

Harvestfest at the end of October will entice the residents to come into the garden with us to watch the hayrides in the wagon, the pumpkin roll and to hear fall songs of golden, falling leaves of the changing season. The Chinese New Year’s Parade in February will bring a celebration of the Asian part of our world and the Rosebud Parade ends our school year with homemade costumes, more songs and a shared picnic. Numerous activities throughout the school year bring the elders and children together, building upon our daily encounters with each other in the garden and the hallways.

In this assisted-living setting, our elders have joined a loving community where there is time to foster new relationships and deepen life-time friendships. Some of our residents were neighbors earlier in life and now live down the hallway from each other. The resident “pace” allows them time to read, look through the family photo albums and engage in the daily activities that are offered by the Terrace management. And then, there is time just to contemplate LIFE. Our residents continue to enjoy a keen interest in current events following years of developing wisdom. Ask an elder about the upcoming election and you will hear a very clear, personal opinion on the worthiness of the candidate or the issue. And the Montessori children sit wide-eyed listening to stories of a childhood on a farm or in the city of the early 1900's. They can read about similar experiences in books but there is nothing richer than hearing a story from the deep and rich voice of an elder friend.

Residents tell us how much we are missed during the summer vacation months. Each fall we renew these heart-warming friendships with returning and new children. Our residents and children share a daily life with so much hope for the future of our community and world. They marvel at what each is able to do and rejoice in the simple acts of living together and sharing together. In the eyes of our elders, our children continue the dreams of their generation and the unimaginable accomplishments that the future will offer. We watch the pure joy that is seen on the faces of the residents and the children as they greet each other in our Terrace home.

When you see these two generations together, you are filled with awe of how our elders are still on their developmental journey. They have experienced in their lifetime what is now ahead for our children. In their failing eyes and wrinkled smiles is the promise that when we reach out to life and say "YES" to relationships, no matter what our age, experience, or temperament, we give each other the richest gift during any plane of development—LOVE.

Carol Johnson, Intergenerational Liason at the Terrace
Childpeace Montessori School