Highline/Wesley Homes Intergenerational Preschool

Highline Public Schools, Washington
By: | July 8, 2019
District Name: Highline Public Schools
District State: Washington
District Website: midway.highlineschools.org/montessori
Senior support—The Highline/Wesley Homes Intergenerational Preschool is housed in a retirement community and allows residents to teach students life skills, including reading, sewing and cooking.

Challenge: Faced with growing enrollment, Highline Public Schools needed to find extra space for a preschool to ensure that the earliest learners were being served.

Initiative: The Highline/Wesley Homes Intergenerational Preschool is a Montessori preschool for children ages 3 to 5 located in the center of the Wesley Homes Retirement Community in Des Moines, Washington. Thanks to a partnership with the facility, the district rents the space for $1. Residents guide the children in activities such as sewing aprons, planting flowers, writing letters, telling stories and cooking. All the students in the program qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and families can spend time with both their children and the residents in the center.

Impact: “There are many residents’ families that say their relatives are happier because children are part of their community center on a daily basis,” says Kimberly Kinzer, executive director of teaching, learning and leading. Students who have moved up from the program into kindergarten have exceeded their peers in school readiness.

Advice: Before suggesting or launching such a program, build a strong relationship with a retirement center in your district by getting to know the administrators, residents and families, says Kinzer.