Preschool Opens Inside Retirement Home Causing Elderly Residents to 'Come Alive'

At the Intergenerational Learning Center, more than 400 senior residents join preschoolers in dancing, art projects, storytelling and more


Preschoolers and senior citizens are growing together at a nursing home in Seattle.

The two groups get together every day at the Intergenerational Learning Center – a preschool located inside theProvidence Mount St. Vincent senior care center. More than 400 senior residents join the children five days a week in dancing, art projects, storytelling and more.

Filmmaker Evan Briggs spent the 2012-2013 school year filming at the center – resulting in a documentary called Present Perfect. Upon learning about this unique pairing, Briggs wrote on her Kickstarter, “I was struck by the simple perfection of the concept.”

Briggs said the interactions between the children and elderly she witnessed were “sweet, some awkward, some funny – all of them poignant and heartbreakingly real.”

Residents of the center underwent a “complete transformation in the presence of the children. Moments before the kids came in, sometimes the people seemed half alive, sometimes asleep,” Briggs told ABC News. “It was a depressing scene. As soon as the kids walked in for art or music or making sandwiches for the homeless or whatever the project that day was, the residents came alive.”

Briggs’s Kickstarter campaign to fund the editing of the film she shot on her own has far-exceeded its initial $50,000 goal. She hopes her film will start a conversation about aging in America and showcase this easily replicable approach to early childhood education.

“Shooting this film and embedding myself in the nursing home environment also allowed me to see with new eyes just how generationally segregated we ve become as a society,” she wrote. “And getting to know so many of the amazing residents of the Mount really highlighted the tremendous loss [their isolation] is for us all.”

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