Multigeneration intercommunication day service facility & nursery school
“Minna Ishio no Ippo & Ippo” (first step for everyone)
One of my great friends opened a complex facility of day service and nursery school in Ageo city, Saitama. What is it like in the actual facility which solves the most serious issue in Japan regarding aging population and lacking of nursery school? What is happening in the communication of elderly people and children? I went there to see with my eyes and summarized as follows.
The representative of the facility, Mr. Yuichi Abe, started running a day service facility at the different location in Saitama originally. Since he heard that children can develop their warm feelings because of the relationship with elderly people, he transformed his dream of establishing a complex facility combined a day service and a nursery school into reality.
There used to be a bank before in the building and it is renovated to make a spacious place. There is no wall from the kitchen to a space for elderly people and children so that staff member can overlook at once. It also creates borderless and lively atmosphere.
In the morning greetings, elderly people sit around children. When children’s name is called by the teacher and children respond with lively voice, elderly people smile and clap their hands.
It was the end of August, they had a BBQ lunch event to finish the season of summer. Both staff member and elderly people prepared for the BBQ. About 60% of elderly people are demented people. I did not realize this fact until I heard it from the staff since elderly people were chopping vegetables lightly and deliverly. They never stop chatting and smiling. They catch up, acknowledge and give praise each other.
On the other side of the facility, toddlers finished playing with water are running around. Even though there is a space for kids, the staff member let kids free to come across the room so that kids can visit elderly people’s space anytime. The staff member said, “He is gone there again!”. “We were not sure whether it works well for both of them to see each other freely at the beginning. But while staff member watches over them, we are comfortable letting elderly people and kids communicate freely now.”
The staff have a multiple of skill and I am very impressed by their high motivation. “Because of this complex facility, we need employees who have multiple skill.” There is no one who come to stand but they all find what to do independently. They also communicate and track without boundary between elderly people and children.
Before noon, the easy physical exercise is started for the elderly people. They stretch their bodies with a lot of smile while children hold balls to show their cute exercise in front of the room.
From this visit, the following is the thing I found.
・The elderly people feel they are needed by the society because of watching over the children.
・Since the children communicate with not only the nursery teachers but also the wide generation of people, they are able to see a variety of world and enjoy. Therefore, they become to communicate with anyone proactively.
・There is warm and comfortable atmosphere in the coexisting space of elderly people and children. This atmosphere is strongly related to the fact of cultivating children’s gentle hearts.
This facility is approved as a licensed nursery school by the government from September. I would like to send my best wishes for the continued success and growth for this facility. Increasing the number of these complex facilities will lead to solve the issues of aging generation, lacking of nursery school, and trend toward the nuclear family.