On this sunny summers morning the 3rd of July some of the children from See-Saw Nursery arrived in high-vis vests and sunhats at Goodson Lodge.

They came to meet our residents and spend some time reading and playing with them. A total of six smiley tots tentatively tiptoed through the doors and into the garden lounge where they were greeted by residents Estelle, Anne, Gwyn, Margaret, Les and Lewis.

This was to be the first time that the children would come to visit the home and the atmosphere slowly crept from nervousness to excitement. The children aged between three and four came armed with their favourite books, colouring pens and brightly coloured paper. Huddled round two tables, residents watched on as the children read aloud and drew pictures of whatever came to mind, which was everything from family and treasure maps to volcanos. Activities Co-ordinator Leanne offered out refreshments to all, and the children accepted very politely remembering their manners.

After a short while the children grew restless and they went to stretch their legs in the garden. Residents watched on as the children explored, stopping to touch and smell the herbs and zooming off to chase the butterflies.

Returning indoors Taylor took the time to test out every seat surrounding the table, to make sure he had picked the best one. Les laughed and encouraged the young boy to try one more seat, before he settled on the one he wanted. The drawing continued, and the children became increasingly more vocal and confident with the residents as the barriers fell away. Resident Betty came to join the fun and Amelia swept in ensuring she was not left out, she talked her through the animals in ‘Goat goes to Pre-school’. Tot Taylor and his new friend, resident Les, didn’t need to say much as the facial expressions, giggles and body motions spoke volumes about the relationship they had built. As Taylor slid down into his chair, his bottom hanging off the edge, Les took off the red glittery hat which he has had since moving in to Goodson Lodge and popped it over Taylor’s face which Taylor found hilarious.

Through-out the visit, one person had stayed out of the fun. Fiona can sometimes struggle to engage in social situations and seldom involves herself in group activities, despite the best encouragement from the team. Fiona did however, sit at the back of the room and watch from a distance. One sensitive young girl, Marnie had obviously spotted this. Perhaps at this fragile age she had already encountered what it can be like to be on the outside looking in. She carefully walked towards Fiona and proudly displayed to her a piece of orange paper covered in pink love hearts. “What a fantastic picture”, Fiona smiled as she commented. She took time to touch the picture, showing a keen interest.

At the end of the visit the children got back into their pairs and gave a loud goodbye to the residents and team members. This is the first, of what we hope to be a fortnightly arrangement between Goodson Lodge and See-Saw Nursery, so we asked the residents what they thought of the visit;

Estelle said she, “would like to see them return”. Margaret thought, “it was very nice and she would look forward to seeing them again.” Betty thought it was, “a very good and a lesson for them in mixing with grown-ups and exchanging thoughts and feelings on the books they brought and the pictures they drew.” Fiona thought it was, “wonderful” to have the children visiting and was sure that they would remember their visit.