Enid Public Schools and The Commons retirement community celebrated the 10th anniversary of the district’s intergenerational pre-kindergarten class Friday.

The unique partnership between EPS and The Commons puts some of Enid’s youngest students together with the retirement community’s residents, both inside and outside of the on-site pre-K classroom.

Administrators and staff with both organizations gathered Friday at The Commons’ chapel, along with residents and community members, to honor the occasion and to see some special performances from the program’s students.

“The EPS and Commons pre-K program is a jewel of our district, our community and our state,” EPS Superintendent Darrell Floyd said of the internationally recognized program. “It is a win-win situation for our students and for The Commons residents. The special relationship and special bond that the young ones have with the older ones is a benefit to everyone involved.”

To commemorate the decade-long relationship, a new sign was unveiled outside The Commons, bearing the logos of both partners above the words “Intergenerational Pre-Kindergarten Program.”

Diana Stout, 72, has lived at The Commons for more than three years, she said, and appreciates having the kids around. Their energy “enriches” the retirement community, livens and brightens her days, she said.

She spends time with the kids most days. It’s something she looks forward to, and something she misses in the summer when school is out, she said.

“We sure do appreciate them,” she said.

Hayley Goodman has been teaching at The Commons pre-K for two years, and worked at Carver Early Childhood Center for two years prior.

“Everything we do in our class is the same you would have in another Enid pre-K classroom,” she said.

Though the curriculum is the same, the unique environment has unique benefits for the age group.

“We’re teaching them kindness, we’re teaching them empathy and all these different kinds of character education … and (intergenerational pre-K) gives them a chance to practice that more,” she said, the kids have an easier time developing those character skills with their “grandmas” and “grandpas.”

The way pre-K children interact with others their age often is very different, she said. They share a lot with the residents.

“It’s nice to have that many more people they can tell something to,” she said.

Story provided by Enid News & Eagle

Written by: Mitchell Willetts