Sun, 16 Feb 2020
YOUNG pupils from Speenhamland Primary School attended the monthly Memory Café meet-up with dementia sufferers for a morning of games, singing and dancing.
Foundation year pupils from the Newbury school took part in the intergenerational event at the Corn Exchange on January 20.
The morning kicked off with some introductions as everyone got to know each other, before the group sang popular nursery rhymes and did the hokey cokey to warm their bodies up.
Then the group used a giant scrunchie – a stretchy elastic ring – and bounced up and down, and worked together to open up a parachute in a large circle and examine the different ways it could be moved.
There was then some sharing time when the pupils asked the adults about their favourite songs, before drawing pictures of the grown-ups dancing.
The event was led by early years and education officer at the Corn Exchange Rebecca Smith, who said the get-together was a valuable experience for both adults and children.
She said: “It’s often adults, especially with dementia, that possibly aren’t coming into contact with children unless they have grandchildren.
“The wonderful thing is it reminds them how to play and have fun.
“They do have memories from childhood and it brings them back to that place.
“It’s also music which gives everyone so much joy and it’s a really good hook to bring them to their younger days.
“The children really benefit from meeting with people that are different to them.
“They spend all day at school with their peer groups so it’s wonderful to see them interacting with older groups.
“It’s really important to make these relationships happen as it gives you a great perspective of a different life.”
Speenhamland School associate headteacher Emma Parish said: “It was a good opportunity for our youngest pupils to work with other members of our local community.
“In doing so the children showed confidence and an ability to work collaboratively.”
The Memory Café is a monthly activity at the Corn Exchange, providing support for people living with dementia, their carers and their family members.
They are a place to find support, share concerns, celebrate and take part in arts activities in a comfortable environment.
All activities are led by a professional artist and are programmed with the aim of stimulating the brain and encouraging conversation.
They are drop-in sessions, with no need to pre-book.
All sessions are set in the Balcony Bar at the Corn Exchange and last an hour and a half.
For more information about the Memory Café, visit www.cornexchangenew.com/event/memory-cafe