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Holly Baulderstone Head of Early Years

Intergenerational relationships are transformative. There is something cyclical in the exchange of joy and wisdom that transcends age – stretching the boundaries of the everyday into the extraordinary. The simple act of sharing a story, a conversation, an afternoon tea becomes a treasured memory and a trace of our belonging, being, and becoming. This is what we hope our Grandparents’ Day Afternoon Tea celebrated for our boys, grandparents and special friends from Vailima Gardens Retirement Community.

In preparation for the event, the boys and educators considered what we needed to do to turn the daily routine of afternoon tea in the Early Years into a cherished ritual. This time of day is often rushed, noisy and driven by a desire to move on to the next thing… whether that be cleaning up or moving on to play. Our ideal of sharing a lovely afternoon tea with grandparents was far from the boys’ normal experience of this time of day. We decided to invest some love, care, calm, and time into the processes involved in preparing our afternoon teas. The more ownership and time the boys put into the preparation, the more connected, mindful, and enjoyable the experience became for everyone. The boys now set the table, make the ‘tea’, prepare the snack (by the time boys leave the ELC they will all be able to bake the perfect scone), and write a prayer that focuses on what they have been grateful for during the day. We are then mindful of helping them slow down to enjoy the moment and engage in conversation with each other. When the boys have finished they wash their dishes ready for the next afternoon tea.

We were very conscious that Grandparents’ Day had the potential to intensify some families feelings of loss and isolation, as a result of the natural ebbs and flow of migration, and the recent changes in our society due to COVID-19. Some were able to address the tyranny of distance by having a virtual cup of tea and tour of the centre. For others, we are so grateful for the relationship we are building with Vailima Gardens Retirement Village, and the warmth and community that these visitors contributed to the afternoon.

On the morning of our Grandparents’ Afternoon Tea the boys made seven batches of scones for our visitors (over 100 scones)! Mixing together the flour, butter, milk, with their effort and love for their grandparents – the perfect recipe for an afternoon tea.

Holly Baulderstone
Head of Early Years