Global Intergenerational Week is coming up from 25 April to 1 May; the ideal time to celebrate a pioneering, Australian-first intergenerational project right here in Adelaide.
Echoes Montessori is an early learning and care environment embedded into the vertical village of Encore Apartments independent retirement living. In this innovative space the children and their elders not only share land, but also share their lives with one another.
Echoes and Encore is the first of its kind in Australia, and remains ground-breaking globally for several reasons. Other projects have seen childcare added as an afterthought to existing aged care facilities. Echoes was part of Encore apartments from conception, with its presence an integral part of the village’s overall design. The Echoes and Encore partnership is also built on a unique commitment to respect and independence. Encore village is an empowering space for independent retirement living, not a traditional aged care facility. Echoes is a Montessori early learning environment, encouraging children to be active citizens from their earliest days. Both focused on promoting dignity and meaning.
Echoes Montessori is an intergenerational project in more ways than one, as it is owned and operated by a mother-daughter team, Barbara and Jessica Langford. Barbara founded her first Montessori centre back in 1989 for Jessica to attend as a two-year-old. Jessica loved it so much that she returned to that classroom as an adult to teach alongside her mum. Now the two are in partnership in a project dedicated to the memory of Barbara’s mum and dad, Dorothy and Jack Davis, who inspired their explorations of dignified support for elders.
Each day of Global Intergenerational Week celebrates a different theme, highlighting the benefits of connecting different age groups. Jessica Langford says the outcomes of intergenerational care include,
“a reduction in isolation and loneliness for older people, children developing more positive attitudes towards ageing, and both groups experiencing increases in physical and psychological well-being”.
Barbara and Jessica are excited to use Global Intergenerational Week to spread awareness of Echoes Montessori.
“We hope to inspire others to embark upon similar projects,” says Barbara Langford.
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