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  1. The Tapestry of the Generations TOY research seminar May 15th 2014 Nóirín Hayes Dublin Institute of Technology, Centre for Social and Educational Research School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

  2. The Intergenerational Space • Children grow up in the midst of society – we grow old in the midst of society • A Dutch experience • An Italian experience • Policies and structures influence how our society functions - - and in Ireland they are segregational and economically focused • TOY research is challenging the limits of this approach

  3. Intergenerational [IG] Learning • Identified benefits include: • Sharing skills • Reducing exclusion • Changing perceptions • Enhancing active citizenship • Promoting understanding • Increasing wellbeing • Building connections • Supporting Life-Long-Learning • But IG research rarely includes young children and older people - except in the context of childcare

  4. On Grandparents and Early Childhood – 2013 • Younger grandmothers who are fit, healthy and with younger grandchildren . . . . . are the very women governments across Europe are encouraging to stay in paid work for longer, in order to increase productivity and pay for their own pensions, health and social care in later life. • Their vital but invisible role in providing childcare . . . . is likely to conflict with their ability to self-finance their old age, especially as widow’s benefits in both state and employer pension schemes are eroded.

  5. An economic rather than educational lens • Given that grandmothers aged 50 to 69 who are not in paid work are the most likely to provide childcare, the plans of European governments to extend retirement ages and increase female labour force participation at older ages are likely to conflict with grandparents’ role in providing childcare. • This will have significant implications for labour market participation by younger mothers, and for pension acquisition and the financial security of mid-life women.

  6. The TOY Project • TOY – Together Old and Young – is a new approach to considering the engagement of older people with young children [not focusing on childcare] • It redirects attention towards the interactions and relations between the youngest children and older citizens • It focuses on the social and educational benefits of InterGenerational learning not only to young children and older people but to families, communities and society as well • It is located within a rights framework that foregrounds the importance of active agency and participation for both groups.

  7. TOY - Ireland • Production of a literature review to underpin the project aims and actions. The review: • Showed evidence of a growing separation between young and old • Reviewed benefits of intergenerational links • Identified a number of key innovative intergenerational projects of excellence • Provided the initial framework for further TOY actions

  8. Initial TOY Framework • Building and sustaining relationships • Enhancing social cohesion in the community • Facilitating older people as guardians of knowledge • Recognising the roles of grandparents in young children’s lives • Enriching the learning processes of both children and older adults.

  9. Vision and Values • Democratic in that it recognised the importance of facilitating the participation role of all citizens • Respectful of the contribution and potential of the young with the sagacity and wisdom of older people • Trusted in the power of ordinary interactions and connections as the space for learning and continuity for both groups • Challenged the stereotypes different groups hold of each other • Valued the experiences as beneficial for both young and old

  10. Thank You 