Coopersale & Theydon Garnon C.E. Primary School is the first school in the district to receive a Dementia Friendly Schools award.
The school has been incorporating dementia awareness into the curriculum for most of their subjects and developing links with their local care home, Ashlar House Care Home (part of Barchester Healthcare) in Epping.
Epping Forest Dementia Action Alliance (EFDAA) became aware of the intergenerational project the school and care home were doing via EFDAA’s steering group and recognised it as an excellent example of how dementia awareness can be implemented into education.
Activities and COVID
Visits to Ashlar House started in 2019, when pupils from year 3 and 4 interviewed the residents and their families about their lives as part of a project called ‘I love where I live’ which the pupils turned into handmade biographies for the residents as Christmas gifts.
Prior to their visits each year group took part in sessions about dementia to help them understand certain behaviours and encourage sympathy and empathy.
The school continued correspondence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They held weekly virtual sessions with the care home, once every half term, to present some of their work and read to the residents or get read to. They were also able to chat with the residents after each session, asking them questions about their lives and giving them the opportunity to reminisce.
Shining examples of the culture of care
Councillor Holly Whitbread, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Service said:
My congratulations to Coopersale & Theydon Garnon C.E Primary School for being the first to receive the award in the district. These children and their teachers are shining examples of the culture of care we love to see in our community.
Here at Epping Forest District Council, supporting the Dementia Action Alliance is a crucial part of our commitment to reduce isolation and foster new connections. It is my hopes that news of this fantastic work will spread, and we will see more accredited Dementia Friendly Schools in the district very soon.
Epping Forest Dementia Action Alliance
Epping Forest Dementia Action Alliance (EFDDA) was launched in 2016. It brings together organisations and individuals across the district who are committed to further developing a dementia friendly community.
EFDAA continues to grow throughout the pandemic, at a time when those affected by dementia need our care and support more than ever.
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