–“It takes a village to raise a child.”
We are rebuilding the village and reconnecting the villagers.
For the past three decades, SA Montessori has been bringing exceptional early learning experiences to the children of Adelaide and supporting families with the process of parenting. We continue to embrace the privilege of our role in the lives of children, but we are also evolving to create a connection to our elders as well.
SA Montessori is incredibly proud of our innovative and inspiring partnership with ECH, one of the largest integrated providers of ageing support services in South Australia.
Together we have built a pioneering project that places early learning and retirement residences side-by-side. The two services are not only co-located on the same plot of land, but deeply integrated through a range of opportunities that facilitate consistent, authentic and ongoing intergenerational interaction. Children and elders not only share land, but share their lives with one another as they connect, learn and grow.
This intergenerational village is located at 85 Smart Road, Modbury. The main road provides convenient access for families from surrounding areas, but this street frontage is the only man-made piece of the site’s perimeter. The borders of development are embedded into Linear Park, meaning that the children and elder residents are embraced by nature. They will also be reciprocating that care through the thoughtful touches of the village, such as the urban farm that is tended by little hands and big ones alike.
These shared values are reflective not only of the organisations as a whole but of the individuals who envisioned this project. Several representatives of ECH have been instrumental in developing and supporting this project, including David Panter (Chief Executive), Dorothy Nycz (Chief Operating Officer), Damien Williams (Senior Project Manager), and Luke Say (Manager of Community and Operational Development). The SA Montessori vision and values have been proudly expressed by mother and daughter duo Barbara and Jessica Langford. Barbara established her first preschool, Jescott Montessori, back in 1989 after coming to believe that there must be more to education than what she found on offer and deciding to create a better option for her children. This planted the seed that has grown throughout the past three decades to become the flourishing family tree of the six early learning centres that make up SA Montessori today. It therefore seems perfectly fitting that Barbara’s interest in aged care began as a result of a family connection too. Barbara watched her mother Dorothy, Jessica’s Nanna, progressing through the stages of Alzheimer’s in residential aged care and once again came to believe that there simply must be something more, a better way. So, for the second time in her life, Barbara decided to create what she felt her loved ones deserve. Barbara’s instincts combined with Jessica’s interest and evolved into a more tangible concept. A fortuitous introduction to David Panter provided the Langford family with the partners they needed to make the vision a reality.
This group of passionate professionals from ECH and SA Montessori have contributed countless hours to creating a strong partnership and a holistic model with well-articulated principles and a well-executed plan. It is our aim that we will document and share the ongoing journey under the auspice of ‘Montessori For Life‘ so that we might inspire other intergenerational projects.
For further updates we encourage you to follow SA Montessori on Facebook or Instagram or visit www.montessoriforlife.com.au.
We realise that many of our families will feel inspired by this project. If you, or an organisation you represent, would like to learn more or get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about our multifaceted and meaningful approach to promoting personalised intergenerational engagement, we invite you to read about our TEACHERS model.
Construction of this village is well underway. The start of development was honoured with a traditional Aboriginal ‘Smoking Ceremony’ on Tuesday 19th November, 2019. The building process on such a large project is extensive and takes approximately two years, so we are over halfway through this timeline. This timeframe provides us with an ideal opportunity to thoughtfully plan our holistic model. The detailed forethought will ensure that when the centre is ready in late 2021, and the retired residents enter their new homes in early 2022, we will be ready to immediately facilitate a truly meaningful intergenerational community.
We are delighted by the progress that has been made on site and our teaching team has visited our blossoming centre to take the next step in planning the furnishings, equipment and experiences that will enrich the space and make the learning journey come alive for our children and their older friends.
We believe that every child who enters the world is already deserving of respect, support, meaning and connection – and that every elder, regardless of age or impediment, is still deserving of these same opportunities.
We believe that we are better together and that by connecting these two groups we improve outcomes for all of our lifelong learners.
Our aim is to connect those who are just entering this great world of human thought with those who have the most experience in it.