South London nursery Apples and Honey Nightingale recently opened its doors to its first intake of children on-site at Nightingale House care home in South London.
The innovative project for the first time integrates both older residents and children into the delivery of the nursery curriculum. Meaningful intergenerational activity is at the heart of the nursery, with daily activities planned between elderly care residents and nursery children. Intergenerational activities are designed for equal participation by children and residents, with the goal of building relationships between the two.
The first week’s programme included making soup harvested from the vegetables planted by residents and children at the nursery launch in June, painting alphabet tiles together designed by 89 year old resident Walter Goldstein. Across this first week, and every week, residents will visit the nursery and children will interact with the care home, making maximum use of the whole campus.
Diverse activities will be led both by nursery and Nightingale Hammerson staff, all of which are designed to deliver an early years curriculum based on the Early Years Foundation Stage. This innovative and inspirational social project is run with a Jewish ethos, but is open to children of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds. This ethos extends to welcoming Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) with the traditional Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony each week, led by Nightingale’s religious advisor Rafi Fuchs.
The Ofsted-registered nursery is being run as a social enterprise and will cater for 30 children, with 20 percent of places being allocated to Nightingale Hammerson staff, with an emphasis on the most specialist care-related posts.
It is the second branch in the Apples and Honey nursery chain. The original nursery, Apples and Honey Wimbledon, which maintains an Ofsted rating of ‘Outstanding’ launched the start of the relationship between the nursery and Nightingale Hammerson 26 years ago. Opening a dedicated Apples and Honey nursery within the grounds of Nightingale House marks a new stage in the collaboration between these two organisations, and creates an innovative model in co-located care for the UK.
Judith Ish-Horowicz of Apples & Honey said: “This is the culmination of a long-held dream of mine and I’m so excited to see it become a reality. Nightingale Hammerson could not have been more helpful and supportive in bringing our joint vision to life. Whilst we’ll follow the EYFS curriculum, so many of our daily activities lend themselves to intergenerational collaboration between children and residents. I hope this will become a model for other care home and nursery providers.”
Susan Cohen of Nightingale Hammerson said: “This is a very special day for Nightingale Hammerson and our residents. It lifts the mood and brings new life into the home. The residents love the children. It’s been a really collaborative process and it seems so obvious. Opening up reserved places for staff helps us to retain the best and makes their lives easier, and that is our priority. You wonder why more places don’t do it.”
Denise Burke of United for All Ages said: “Today’s opening of Apples and Honey Nursery on the site of Nightingale Hammerson’s Nightingale House is a momentous day and we hope the first of many integrated shared site facilities for both young and old across the country. United for All Ages is working with other care providers to help them plan, develop and evaluate new nurseries on the sites of existing care homes and extra care accommodation for the elderly. In addition, we can signpost providers to funders who are keen to invest in these initiatives.
It was delightful watching the older residents interacting with young children today and the benefits to both ages were clear for all to see.”