Winmalee Public students spread joy at Opal Endeavour nursing home

A program in Springwood is creating magic, by connecting the Blue Mountains' oldest and youngest residents.

Winmalee Public students have been visiting aged care residents at the Opal Endeavour nursing home in Springwood, reading and playing games together.

At their final visit for 2019, the students from years 3-6 performed two dance numbers, much to the delight of residents.

School principal Kate Ford said she'd been wanting to get the program running for quite some time.

"I saw some news items on channel 9 news about schools doing it in Victoria and I thought that it would be a great way for our students to give back to the community," she said.

"Seeing our students happily interact with the people at the nursing home, and listening to and sharing their own stories makes me exceptionally proud of them."

Students Harrison Stevens and Lainey Beames have enjoyed hearing residents' stories.

"I like playing games with them. They are really entertaining," Lainey, 11, said.

Harrison, 11, said he liked hearing about people's lives when they were younger, such as Owen, who was in the police force for 25 years.

"It's just really fun," he said.

Resident Hilary Preston, couldn't agree more. She used to teach history at St Columba's College and misses the interaction with kids.

"I love seeing them all and hearing the chatter," she said.

"It's the whole vibe and the energy and something different, and interesting people to talk to."

The home's general manager Mary Lomnicki has noticed a lift in residents' spirits for 24 hours after the visit.

"They talk about it for a good 24 hours," she said.

"Just to see the residents' smiles on their faces. Some have real significant memory loss and look at the children, they had them dancing with the children and playing games with them, and a person has all of a sudden come alive again."

The interaction is also stimulation for tired brains.

"They read books and play different games with them. They're getting them to use their analytical and intellectual skills which is fantastic. Young mind and old mind interacting, creates magic," Mrs Lomnicki said.

"I wish we could do this every week. I don't think the children realise the joy they bring to these residents."

Winmalee Public teacher Emily Matthews said the children look forward to the visits.

"The kids love it. They love connecting with other people," she said.

"You could hear them talking about the last visit and wondering if that person will be here again. They also like talking about themselves," Ms Matthews said with a laugh.

The school will continue visiting Opal Endeavour this year. The program is made possible thanks to a combination of funds from the school, P&C association and nursing home, for the buses which transport the students to Opal Endeavour.

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