A new program in Bendigo is helping to bridge the generational gap between young people and older Australians.
Mercy Health Bethlehem residents have been able to interact and connect with preschool children and students from Marist College through the ageless playgroup sessions.
"It's really good for the residents - especially at that time of the morning," Bethlehem leisure and lifestyle coordinator Kylie Paxton said.
"They've had breakfast, they're comfortable, and they've all got something to go and do.
"It entices the residents who are isolated - the ones who don't like large-group activities - to come out and participate with the young ones."
Bendigo company Natural Learners launched the seven-week pilot program at Mercy Health Bethlehem.
The company's educational leader Claire Turner said it was the first program of its kind in Bendigo.
"It's nice to see it in action and it's nice to see that it works," Ms Turner said.
"It's lovely to see the relationships building and the connections forming among the parents and the residents, and the children and the residents."
Mercy Health resident Maureen Howley attended the first two sessions of the program. She has loved every minute of it.
"I think that it is the most wonderful thing you can bring to our place," she said. "This is the best morning I have had for a long time. Having this opportunity is just wonderful."
Mother Rachel Eve brought her two-year-old son William to the first two sessions. She said there have already been positive changes in her son.
"I think it's a great concept for all ages," Ms Eve said. "It's just a really great way to integrate the little young ones with the not so young ones.
"It's great just to have that experience for Will to be able to interact and play with people of all walks of life."
Alice Adams brought her two three-year-old daughters to the sessions.
"They're really enjoying it," Ms Adams said. "I think it's really important for them to mix with a broad range of people of different ages and different backgrounds.
"You need a village to raise a child and in the society we're living in, that link with other generations is often lost.
"They spend time with kids their own age or people their parents' age. I think it really is something that young kids are missing out on."
Ms Turner said Natural Learners hoped to kick-start the program in other aged care facilities around Bendigo.
"Our goal is just to facilitate the initial implementation of these sorts of programs and then the community takes it on and continues with it," she said.
"That's the goal - to see it actually spreading. I think the benefits are numerous and not just for one particular age group."
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