Kids’ faces light up when ‘grandparents’ come to class


A new program that puts seniors and small children together – along with a book – has blossomed at the school.

Adopt-a-Grandparent, spearheaded last year by Killarney School teacher Lisa Shiels, and Services for Seniors’ coordinator Wenda Anderson, seemed to chime with both parties, said Shiels.

“It’s the second year of our program, and this year Grade 4 teacher Kat Moody got involved,” said Shiels. “We had two grandparents last year, and we are up to 12 this year. This project has kind of taken off with its own momentum. We are very happy. It’s amazing.”

Meeting up in the classroom, the library, or some other room, seniors take up a small chair alongside the youngster, and together they enjoy reading and listening to each other over a wonderful book. 

It’s a chance to enjoy the richness of writing, the pictures, and the stories of their own lives, which all intertwine during the moments shared.

One of the grandparents who returned to the school was local baseball legend Larry Nicholls, said Moody.

“Larry was a grandparent last year, and he’s back this year,” she said. “It’s nice to have the same grandparent in. He has a lot of fun ideas. He’s also an avid pin collector, and he talks to the kids about his pins, and about Manitoba history. It’s not just about reading. Some of my kids have started their own pin collections.”

Anderson sets up the vetted ‘grandparents’ ahead of time for the program, and Shiels assigns them to the teachers. Around nine classes were involved this past year, she said.

“Some come once or twice a week, and some come once a week,” said Shiels. “Some spend an hour in the morning, or spend a whole afternoon here. It’s a team thing between the teacher and the grandparent. They are all popular, and they are all loved.”

And apparently both the program – and Mr. Nicholls – are a bit of a hit.

“The communication with him and the kids is amazing,” said Shiels. “The kids’ faces light up when they see this grandpa.”

SHARING THEIR STORIES – Larry Nicholls, aka ‘Grampo,’ enjoys an ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ visit with three students from Kat Moody’s Grade 4 class at Killarney School near the end of June. From left they are: Joericks Bugtong, Liam Dyck, and Jayden Friesen, and each of the boys brought a favourite book to the table to share with Grampo.