In 2018, the FQD devised its mediation activities in response to a pressing issue: population ageing. Many elderly people are often negatively stereotyped and isolated. It is estimated that by 2030, the senior population will have execeedeed the population under age 20. This statistic should trigger reflection on the role of older adults in today’s society. It highlights the necessity of making them feel valued.
The 2018 pilot project brought together the children of the CPE de la Dame and the seniors of the Centre d’hébergement de Saint-Henri. Following this model, the 2019 intergenerational workshops are being held in four neighbourhoods: Saint-Henri, Petite-Bourgogne, le Plateau and Rosemont. À petits pas 2019 will connect the Early Children Centres La Garde Amis, St-Louis, de la Dame, Les Gardelunes, and Galijode with retirement homes des Seigneurs, Bruchési, Saint-Henri, Auclair and Robert- Cliche. Dancers Cara Roy, Julie Tymchuk, Roxanne Dupuis and Maryline Cyr and the two cultural mediators of the festival co-host the workshops as a duo.
The series begins with body awareness workshops tailored to children and elders separately. Children then go to a local retirement home for the second half of the series, where participants are invited to combine their movement vocabulary.
We have chosen to work with 5-years-old, for it is an age in which children become more autonomous, are able to work as a team and to understand difference, essential elements to the success of an intergenerational activity. On the other hand, most residents of retirement homes are losing autonomy.
Dance, a Powerful Intergenerational Tool
Dance is suggested as a tool to reactivate the elders decreasing mobility, to stimulate curiosity, imagination, memory and creativity; to promote self-esteem by associating movement with a positive experience. The workshops are therefore devised as communicating vessels, stimulating seniors’ presence and energy, bringing children into a softer dynamic.
The interaction between children and elders aims to break down barriers and to make children aware of the reality of older adults, to help foster a positive image of marginalised population.
Building bridges in the neighbourhood
Rooted in the Sud-Ouest Borough, where the FQD has held its headquarters over the past 3 years, the À petits pas 2018 project has allowed us to connect local partners who have then organized other intergenerational meetings on their own. We are happy to expand our intergenerational project in hopes of witnessing a similar increase in interactions between Early Childhood Centres and Retirement Homes in Saint-Henri, Petite-Bougogne, Rosemont and the Plateau.