Some of the greatest lessons you can learn in life don’t come from a textbook or test, but rather through the experiences of those that you meet.
For the preschoolers who attend school at the Intergenerational Learning Center, a childcare facility for kids five-years-old and younger, this couldn’t be more true.
Because the facility is placed inside the Providence Mount St. Vincent nursing home in Seattle, Washington, which houses nearly 400 elderly residents.
Five days a week, the children and residents come together in a variety of planned activities such as music, dancing, art, lunch, storytelling, or just visiting.
The kids benefit by learning not to fear the elderly or people with disabilities, while the seniors — many of whom experience social isolation — get a renewed sense of self-worth as they provide toddlers with important skills and lessons.
The experiences both groups share is being made into a documentary called Present Perfect by filmmaker Evan Briggs.
She recently launched a Kickstarter to help raise money for the film, reaching her goal of $50,000 with weeks still to go.
What can viewers expect?
Briggs told ABC News that the seniors’ interactions with the children light up their lives.
“Moments before the kids came in, sometimes the people seemed half-alive, sometimes asleep. It was a depressing scene,” Briggs said. “As soon as the kids walked in for art or music or making sandwiches for the homeless or whatever the project that day was, the residents came alive.”
The film’s name, Present Perfect, is a reference to the short amount of precious time in which the two groups’ lives will overlap, and also about being present in the moment.
Briggs hopes her film will open a conversation about aging in America.
“Shooting this film and embedding myself in the nursing home environment also allowed me to see with new eyes just how generationally segregated we’ve become as a society,”she said. “And getting to know so many of the amazing residents of the Mount really highlighted the tremendous loss this is for us all.”
She called the preschool a “genius” idea that is “well within our reach” on a larger scale and hopes the idea expands to other schools around the country.
“It’s a great example of how we integrate the elderly into society,” she said.
The moments between the kids and the residents are “sweet, some awkward, some funny — all of them poignant and heartbreakingly real.”
You can watch the trailer here: