Students Open Eyes to Personal Stories

22nd November 2017


Year 6 students at Girton Grammar School are visiting retirement villages to help gain an appreciation of the interesting lives of the people that they meet.

Deputy Head of Girton Grammar Junior School, Mrs Viv Bath, said that Grade 6 was the perfect age to get students out of the classroom and into the community.

“We want our students to understand that everybody they meet has a story.

“The students are at an age where they are curious about the world around them and confident enough to initiate a conversation.

“They very quickly discover that they have more in common with older people than they might initially assume and they rapidly form a bond with the people that they meet,” she said.

The programme involves the students being buddied up with a resident from a retirement village and meeting together in a Community Meeting room. The students spend class time preparing questions to ask their buddy. During the first visit, the students interview their buddy and take some photos. During the second visit, the students talk about themselves – their hobbies, family and sport. Between visits, the students spend class time discussing the people they have met and sharing insights. The programme involves visiting four different retirement villages around Bendigo.

“It’s wonderful to see the students and the senior citizens open up to one another. The second visit, in particular, is always incredibly rewarding for both the young and the old, who have established some familiarity.

“Playing cards and performing music are just some of the ways that students connect with their buddy. They are sometimes a bit shocked at how savvy some of their buddies are when it comes digital devices.

“No matter what method the students use to connect, they always come back to class sharing some beautiful stories about the people they have met.

“It’s really important for all of us that we contemplate life from another perspective and this programme is really nurturing that ability in our students,” Mrs Bath said.