Reading, writing, arithmetic, and reaching out: Brompton Academy has added another block to their students’ foundation, and the result resonates beyond the school walls and across generations.
As part of their social-emotional learning and goal-setting, Brompton students and staff recently developed a partnership with the Library Terrace Assisted Living Apartments, 7905 36th Ave. Residents and students connect through music, art, and mutual respect.
Brompton embarked on this remarkable endeavor on the last day of our community’s tumultuous year, as students and families delivered a socially-distanced New Year’s Eve serenade that tugged at the hearts of residents.
It was love at first note.
“It just brings tears to their eyes knowing that somebody else cares,” said Library Terrace Life Enrichment Coordinator Lanna Luzar, adding that just talking about the impact the project has had on residents gives her goosebumps.
“They can’t see their families right now, and knowing these kids take their time to reach out to them means so much,” Luzar said. “They miss that human touch, and when the kids put their hands up to the window, they feel like they are still able to feel that touch somehow.”
That authentic connection is not only the Brompton team’s hope, it is their plan, said principal Suzanne Loewen. Following school curriculum, students set a “Heart and Soul” goal as part of the Leader in Me initiative. This is not just any goal — it’s a Wildly Important Goal (WIG), which is the official title of intentions set by the students in this program.
“We are teaching our students in K-8 the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Loewen said, explaining that students set personal WIG goals that fit in with their social/emotional learning.
The project grew from an idea at a November professional development session, and was nurtured by the school’s parent organization, Brompton Community Partnership. BCP’s leadership team includes Jenna Fisher, Tatiana Scalzo, Michelle Kloet, Sarah Whittington and Kara Easton.
When the team reached out to Luzar at Library Terrace, she was thrilled with the idea of making this connection for her residents and embraced the partnership. The assisted living residence serves senior citizens across a range of abilities, from independent living to nursing care.
Once the grownups planted the seeds, the plan blossomed beautifully when students ages 5 to 14 jumped in with energy and enthusiasm.
Under the guidance of art teacher Angela Last-Konicki, music teacher Angela Barone, counselor Molly Meehan Scuglik and Loewen, the children have been working on creative projects including Valentine’s cards, plants in hand-painted pots, and musical videos.
Custom birthday greetings have been a huge hit, organizers said. The greetings feature students singing a personalized rendition of Happy Birthday, recorded by their music teacher.
“Residents request to see their video numerous times on their birthday,” Loewen said.
In keeping with safety protocol, Loewen and Luzar have used technology to communicate and share videos and photos.
“It’s so cute, I’ll tell the residents that the kids made the videos and they are just amazed that this can happen,” Luzar said. “This is truly intergenerational thanks to the ‘new wave’ (of technology).”
Both communities expressed excitement about future plans. Brompton will conduct a fleece drive, then students will use the fabric to create tied blankets. Library Terrace residents will receive these literal “warm fuzzies” during Random Act of Kindness day in mid-February. In March students will deliver succulents complete with hand-painted pots.
Library Terrace residents have even come up with ideas of their own.
“Residents asked if the students could come back and visit through the windows, and make art on the sidewalk in the spring with sidewalk chalk,” Loewen said.
Putting the young faces together with the kind deeds is also important to Library Terrace partners. Loewen said that residents asked if students could send photos with their cards.
“They just love to see the faces,” Luzar added.