Dungog set to have its own ageless playgroup

The happiness was palpable in the auditorium at Lara Aged Care on the Wednesday before Christmas.

Some special guests in the form of pre schoolers, keen to share the Christmas spirit - and more - joined the residents for morning tea in what is set to become an ongoing event.

The morning was a trial for the ageless playgroup project.

Judging by the children's delight, their parents' keen involvement and the reaction from the residents, it will definitely become reality this year.

The children gave the residents cards and helped make Christmas chains to take back to decorate their rooms.

During the morning the residents enjoyed watching the children listen attentively to a Christmas story and then sang some carols together.

The odd somersault was interspersed into the children's unscripted dancing routines, much to the residents' delight.

Little Elijah Wade, 5, brought his own stamps from home to stamp the hands of residents.

He was busy drawing a pig for his new friend Betty when the Dungog Chronicle visited.

The project is spearheaded by the Dungog Shire Community Centre.

Lara manager Jo Earley said she jumped at the chance to get involved, adding that it was also an RSL Life Care home which featured in the popular ABC program "Old people's home for four year olds" screened last year.

"You just have to look at the faces of the residents to see this is a success," said Mrs Earley as the children played happily with their new, older friends.

"Their smiles, their focus, their laughter.

"There are some residents involved who do not usually get involved. This is amazing, the value it gives them."

She said some of the residents were from the dementia specific ward and both the residents and the children felt comfortable and at ease during the morning.

Dungog Shire Community Centre's Development Officer Karyn Marsh said the children and their parents were from the community, Learn n Grow Playgroup held at the public school and those involved in the Community Centre's Nourish program.

"Today has been a soft entry into the inter-generational program which we hope to start a pilot program for in term one in 2020," she said.

Parents who would like to be involved in the ageless playgroup at Lara can contact the Community Centre on 49921133.