Combining “aging well” and “growing up well” is this surprising project by the mayor of the small town of Barlin, in Pas-de-Calais. In January 2023, two kindergarten classes will open their doors in heart of the EHPAD Les Charmilles which now houses almost 80 residents.
While the issues of management and abuse in the Orpea group’s nursing homes never stop making headlines, Barlin Mayor Julien Dagbert has found the parade to restore glee to these often bleak places. Interviewed by our colleagues from BFMTV, the chosen one says he wants “create an intergenerational bond” between the youngest and the oldest of the congregation.
“I wanted to try the experience after seeing the documentary series A life apart† We can follow children in the ‘large section’ class for six weeks to meet the elderly in a nursing home. (…) It touched me so much that I wanted to continue”.
Julien Dagbert at BFMTV
From January 2023, two kindergarten classes from the Maryse-Bastié school will move to the premises of the Barlin nursing home. “We have received a favorable opinion from both institutions, as well as from the academic inspectorate”, says the mayor.
A key movie
The project subsidized up to 50% will be presented to the parents in March. The work starts immediately. In total, two classrooms, a dormitory and a playground will complete the equipment of the Ehpad.
On site, about thirty students aged 2 to 6 will walk independently with the 18 seniors and about sixty residents of the nursing home. Pupils and the elderly will have common living areas to share moments of conviviality and activities. The motor area of the Ehpad allows them to participate in physical and sports activities together, and in the recreation area, various manual and creative activities will take place.
The experiment, unprecedented in France, has already been conducted in the United States, in Seattle, where, since 2015, 400 elderly people share their daily lives with a large number of children aged three to five. This great adventure even resulted in a moving documentary entitled Present perfect† Enough to give ideas to the mayor of Barlin who is already planning to document the first year of cohabitation between residents and children by a sociology student and a filmmaker.
We can’t wait to find out what’s next!