Every Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. a group of unlikely friends gather at Sidney All Care Residence for story time, led by Virgina MacLeod of the Vancouver Island Regional Library.
“We have people over 100 and people under one year all in the same room,” MacLeod says. “It’s kind of amazing.”
Since September, the weekly program – full of songs, stories and exercise for children 5 years old and younger – has found a new home with the residents of the Sidney nursing home while the local library branch they previously used has been under construction.
“The renovations have been tough, especially for our young families,” MacLeod says, calling the new location for story time the “silver lining” of the branch’s transition.
Seated on the floor surrounded by some 25 little bodies, MacLeod runs through a handful of storybooks miming the actions of characters while the kids watch in awe. The program runs for roughly an hour, is open to the public and attended by a handful of local daycares, parents and of course, the seniors.
Positive Path Early Learning, a daycare centre located in the same complex as All Care, approached MacLeod with the idea and she was immediately on board.
To have the residents participating has been lovely, she says, and staff at the nursing home have told her that for the older generation, the weekly visit has made all the difference in their daily activities.
“There are people who don’t really talk who will come and they sing at the program,” MacLeod says. “So we’re hoping even after we go back [to the library] some programming here will be ongoing.”
Porter Hart is a regular at story time with his mom, Kasia, who says the morning provides an opportunity for the two-year-old to run around and interact with those a little older than him.
“I know he loves coming and doing all the actions of the songs and being around the other kids,” says Kasia.
The program will run until Dec. 13, after which a special winter holiday story time is planned the following week at the Mary Winspear Centre on Dec. 22 at 10:30 a.m. Along with the stories and songs, a craft workshop is also planned.
For those interested, keep an eye out as the program resumes in January.