Date: 16-07-2014

Several ISSA members release a new manual for intergenerational learning

Tags: children, family
  • The Dutch NGO ICDI, together with three other ISSA members, VBJK (Belgium), Comenius Foundation (Poland) and the Step by Step Centre for Quality Education (Slovenia) has published a new toolkit to help implement learning workshops involving children (birth to 8 years) and older people.

Launched in 2012, the TOY project (Together Old and Young) is about bringing young children, up to 9 years old, together with older people for them to meet, get to know each other, learn and have fun. Funded by the European Commission and implemented in several European countries (The Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Poland, Ireland and Slovenia), the project has produced a practical manual on how to organize intergenerational workshops. The toolkit provides background information on this new learning approach, guidelines on how to structure and organize a TOY training workshop and five modules with examples of activities, hand-outs and additional research material. The overall goal of this initiative is to help build age-friendly communities: on one hand, older generations feel they make a stronger contribution to the future of their society and valued as guardians of knowledge; on the other, children get to learn about their local history and traditions while developing a stronger sensitivity towards values like respect. Through activities that can easily be implemented in all type of settings, like storytelling, gardening together or playing music, both groups benefit from sharing this time together and learn what communication across generations is about. “After two years of piloting the activities of the project in all these countries, we have verified that, despite the different contexts, intergenerational learning can indeed happen between very young children and senior people” explains ICDI Senior Programme Manager and co-writer of the toolkit, Giulia Cortellesi. “We have also realized how relevant is for the mediators to be trained on how to deal with such different age groups. They have to understand their different needs and the fact that what might work for one group doesn’t necessarily work for the other. This is why we have developed this manual” specifies Giulia. The complete manual can easily be downloaded here. ISSA is a vibrant network that connects professionals and non-profit organizations working in the field of early childhood development. Established in the Netherlands in 1999, ISSA’s community today stretches across the globe with its more than 50 members primarily located in Europe and Central Asia. Building upon the Step by Step Program initiated by the Open Society Foundations in 1994, ISSA aims to ensure equal access to quality care and education for all young children from birth to 10 years old. This mission is implemented through three main pillars of action: equal access for all children; promoting high-quality and professionalism in early years services and empowering parents and communities to be part of the children’s development and learning. For more information on the TOY project, please visit its website or get in contact with ICDI’s communications officer,