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A Foundation Built On Loving, Learning and Growing for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Intergenerational learning and care centers at select Delmar Gardens Family communities offer children the ability and activities to interact with the Senior generation. They learn and grow together while bringing joy to one another. The Delmar Gardens Family Intergenerational Care accepts enrollment throughout the year and is open to children of employees and the community.

Why choose an Intergenerational Program?

You may be wondering how an intergenerational program will benefit your child.  After all, with other great child care programs in the area, why would the Intergenerational Program at Delmar Gardens be the best choice for your child and your family?

In June of 2007, journalist Michele Munz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, touched on this very topic.  After visiting a few centers in the St. Louis Metro area, they produced a wonderful article, Grandfriends’ Cross the Gap with great answers to “Why?”

Here are some excerpts from Michele Munz’s article:

Today, the programs (Intergenerational) are becoming more popular. Researchers are studying their unique benefits to both age groups, and advocates are offering training and guidelines on how to create and maintain successful programs. With the growing elderly population and the increasing need for child care, providers see that combining resources also makes financial sense.

Parents say their children have better manners and are more accepting of not just older people, but of anyone who looks different than them. Relatives of the older adults say their loved ones feel more useful and active.

Vicki Rosebrook, with the Macklin Intergenerational Institute, said the centers help reconnect generations as traditional tasks of caring for children and the elderly are increasingly left to institutions. Many young children don’t live near their grandparents or great-grandparents. Schools, residential communities and recreational centers are segregated by age.

The result: Children learn about the world through friends and TV and lack unconditional love and one-on-one attention from adults. The elderly lose purpose and vital social contact. This may lead to problems with self-esteem and self-worth that can cause behavioral problems in teens or health problems in older people.

The needs of the generations come together like light to a dark room, Rosebrook said, given that an elderly person’s demise often begins with boredom, loneliness and helplessness.  “Children need to explore, interact and be guided, and these needs offset those adults’ needs,” she said.

The last count of intergenerational day-care programs in the U.S. was taken 10 years ago by the AARP. It found 274 shared-site programs, where a day-care center and elderly-care facility shared the same space for activities.

Chesterfield-based Delmar Gardens Enterprises Inc., operates 13 senior healthcare facilities in the St. Louis area, three with shared-site intergenerational programs. One is believed to be the first in Missouri, built 19 years ago in south St. Louis County, others are in Florissant and O’Fallon, Mo.  Other shared-site programs in the area include Our World Inc,. in O’Fallon, Il., and The Learning Tree Intergenerational Center in north St. Louis.

Gabe Grossberg, executive director of Delmar Gardens, decided to build the company’s first shared-site facility after coming across the idea in a health care journal. Grossberg was so excited about the prospect, he changed design plans midstream to accommodate a child-care center serving 16 infants and toddlers.  His daughter, Nikki, was the first infant to be enrolled. As a father and the director, he saw the benefits first-hand.

“For kids, anyone who is good to them and kind and compassionate, they  immediately connect with them,” Grossberg said. “For our youngsters to have that exposure, and to associate the senior population with that type of warmth, I think in the long term will have a great impact on their life,” he concluded.

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They learn acceptance of others on all levels. At Delmar Gardens, our child care staff knows the program benefits children in so many ways:

  • They feel loved by a larger family setting. 
  • They begin to understand compassion at a younger age and to be wonderful helpers to everyone around them. 
  • All of this while receiving care and early education by highly qualified, experienced and professional educators.

Many of our teachers have worked in intergenerational programs before coming to Delmar Gardens.  Five of our teachers worked at a Kirkwood based site for years before it closed in 2003.  One teacher went on to work at the Webster location listed above and the others moved on to other positions.  However, when phone calls came in about the opening of this specific location, teachers decided to leave where they had landed to come and help open this site.  Their passion for intergenerational programs and their benefits moved them to come here and be part of it.

At Delmar Gardens, children participate in a variety of casual and planned activities with the “Grandfriends” (the residents of skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living communities).  All children assist in making Welcome signs for new residents.  Toddlers visit door-to-door on Wednesdays.  Two and three year-olds visit the Alzheimer division on Monday and Friday.  Pre-Kindergarten participates in “Games with Grandfriends” and divisional activities on Thursdays.  These activities may include music therapy, bingo, a gross motor activity, a seasonal easy-to-make treat, a craft, sing-alongs and more.  Daily walks, buggy rides and casual interactions at two of our large window-walls add to the possibilities.

What are the parents saying about Delmar Gardens Early Childhood Education Center (ECE)?  Comments taken from our Spring Survey

“The infant room is a loving and nurturing environment.  I feel so comfortable leaving my baby in Ms. Ellen’s care.”

“We could not be happier with our experience here.  The Pre-K teachers do a great job communicating with us and I am amazed at all of the things he has learned.”

“We are truly blessed.  Our son has developed into a beautiful boy and the teachers at Delmar have been a true asset!!”

“Any time I have had a concern, I feel 100% comfortable speaking with the teachers and director.”

“We really enjoy sending our little girl to school at Delmar Gardens.  WE feel that she is very loved and very well taken care of!  Thank you!”

“We love this daycare and are happy to be a part of it!!  Every teacher has been wonderful.”

“My daughter loves DGOF and her teachers.  She seems to be learning a lot and have fun at the same time.  I always feel very well informed about everything going on.  We love it!”

“Kati and her staff have always created a loving and nurturing environment.  My daughter did not adjust easily and the teachers always stayed positive and worked with her (which probably took a GREAT deal of patience.)”

“My child is developing a love of music and dance and learning important social skills.  The themes are developmentally appropriate and the teachers do a good job making it interesting for toddlers.”

“We truly appreciate all the time you have given us and the support.  Thank you so much for the love and attention you give her and for treating her as if she was one of your own.”

“We are so thrilled to have our children here and think the most of every teacher here.  I sometimes feel I don’t show my appreciation enough…”

“We believe that she is well prepared to be successful in school because of the preparation she has received here.”

“Your staff’s teamwork, leadership, and compassion for my children (and the other kids) far exceeds our expectations.”

“We have been very pleased with our decision to use Delmar’s ECE.  The program surpasses what we think our friends use and seems to really help develop his skills and capabilities.”

“All of the teachers are absolutely amazing, loving, caring individuals  I feel so sad that this is my last year to be involved in ECE.  I am so grateful for an amazing 5 years!!!”

“I think DGOF ECE is the BEST childcare there is out there and I make sure everyone knows it.  Your team is truly one of a kind and can tell everyone loves what they do.”

“What I found so wonderful is that you suggested ways to get him help once we fixed his hearing.  That means the world to me and you have helped my son in so many ways.”

What We Do to Help Your Child Grow on Every Level:

Warm and loving environment helps children to thrive while learning.  We offer special services such as:

  • Individual personalized attention
  • Delicious and nourishing breakfast, lunch and snack
  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Highly-qualified staff
  • Creative art programs
  • Language development skills
  • Open door visiting
  • Intergenerational Activities

Our Planned Activities help to support an age appropriate, strong learning environment:

  • Interest/Play Areas
  • Blocks/Construction/Transportation
  • Dramatic Play
  • Creative Art Area
  • Manipulative Area
  • Science/Sensory Area
  • Library/Language Development
  • Music Area
  • Large Muscle Development
Special Events:
  • Intergenerational Activities – Singing songs, enjoying playtime and story time with our dear Senior residents.
  • Story Time
  • Guest Speakers
  • Outdoor Environment
  • Family Events/Activities
Volunteer Participation:
  • Community Visitors
  • Parent Sharing Special Topics
  • High School/College Student Involvement