“It makes you want to stay in shape to see them grow,” smiles Margaux Bichot, 91, as she goes to meet Jacinthe, Côme or Charlotte, not yet 2 years old. Intergenerational crèches, inside or next to a retirement home, are on the rise.
Benefits for children and seniors
In Laval (Mayenne), the 12 children from the Tom & Josette micro-crèche have been sharing special moments with the residents of the Le Logis senior residence for a year, gathered within the Saint-Julien intergenerational space.
“The interactions are constant because we walk around the residence a lot”, explains Julie Peslier, director of this micro-crèche which employs four employees and a work-study student. “We also have elderly residents who have chosen their accommodation just above to hear the children“.
Workshops organized twice a week are based on games shared at the nursery (construction, dolls), animal mediation or musical awakening sessions.
Around a speaker equipped with a guitar, an accordion and a box full of instruments, children and elderly people share refrains that have stood the test of time, ranging from “Do you know how to plant the choux” to “On the Pont d’Avignon”.
Margaux does not hesitate to twirl in the large living room of the Logis, carried away by the music and the enthusiasm of the little ones. “It’s my breath of fresh air to see themshe confides. It makes you want to stay in shape to see them grow…“.
Same rejuvenation treatment for her neighbor Raymonde Leroux, 91 years old: “They remind me of my youth“.
For Parisian clinical psychologist Jean-Luc Noël, specializing in gerontology, these appointments are not trivial, provided they are regular.
“These meetings allow elderly people to get back into the social fabric, where old age tends to break down relationships.he explains. This mobilizes their attention and concentration skills and promotes physical well-being.“.
As for children, professor of clinical psychology at Paris Cité University Jacqueline Wenland, who studies these intergenerational exchanges, observes “greater confidence and self-esteem, more patience, compassion, respect and empathy“.
While certain establishments have been singled out for their priority given to financial logic, Pauline Faivre, co-founder of Tom&Josette, intends on the contrary “re-enchanting early childhood careers” by allowing teams to focus on education while financial functions are managed by a “base camp” in Paris.
“I no longer found meaning in my job in recent years, recognizes Julie Peslier, in Laval. Here, I have no pressure to do +filling+…“.
Parents, who do not have assistance financed by the town hall or their company, pay on average 700 euros per month for a full-time place in this crèche, once assistance for welcoming young children has been deducted.
Founded in 2019 when there were around twenty pioneering establishments in the public or private sector, the Tom&Josette network of intergenerational crèches is the first to make it an axis of development.
This startup hopes to go from 10 crèches this year 2023 to around a hundred by 2026 thanks to fundraising of 4.3 million euros.
These new kind of crèches, private or public, however, remain an emerging phenomenon in France, underlines the National Family Allowance Fund (CNAF) which does not have figures at national level.
“This is developing more and more with educational projects that go far beyond simple neighborhood relations.“, notes Elsa Hervy, general delegate of the French federation of nursery companies (FFEC).
At the Laval nursery, after the musical awareness session, Margaux Bichot picks up her cane to return to her accommodation. In the presence of the children, she had completely forgotten it…