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St Joseph's residents bring learning to life, and students entertain with crafts and games

Fr Sean

Before Easter, the Terrace Café at St Joseph’s Care Home was silent as a group of schoolchildren listened, rapt, to residents talking of their experiences in World War Two. The residents passed around photographs of themselves and showed the teens their medals. The students got to ask questions, feeding their curiosity about what life was like in wartime.

The meeting was one of several by students of Forest Oak School in Solihull with residents of St Joseph’s in Coleshill. The visits began last year when the Year Nine class was learning about WW2 and teachers decided to talk to people who had lived experiences of the War. Teacher, Ms Miller, said, “They were studying WW2 and they wanted to find out what life was like during the War. So we reached out to St Joseph’s, who were happy for us to come along.”

Talking to the residents at St Joseph’s helped bring history to life for the class. One student said, “It was really interesting to hear about how they lived in WW2.”

The students enjoyed their visit so much they asked teachers if they could come again. Ms Miller said, “They’ve loved it. The interaction has been great for their self-esteem as well as their education. The children said that one of their best memories of the year was visiting the care home.” The class returned at Christmas, when they sang for the residents and taught them how to ‘floss’ (a dance inspired by the videogame Fortnite).

/media/news/library/photos.jpgDuring the Easter visit, the students and residents did crafts together, making Easter cards and wreaths.

The children read poems that they had penned and published. And, taking advantage of the opportunity, residents Major Peter Herbert and Fr Sean Turley talked about their time in the military.

Peter talked about his time in the Brigade of Gurkhas and showed them a painting he had done of his uniform and kukri sword.  He talked about the demanding selection process and training, and told them that it was an honour to serve with a unit known for its loyalty and bravery. He also told them about some of his experiences, like stroking a tiger, meeting his wife and, more recently, celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary.

Fr Sean, who had been stationed at Pearl Harbour, told them about his time in the US Air Force and showed them his medal.  He also talked about his time in New York before war broke out and his career as a military chaplain.

/media/news/library/student-and-resident-bingo---blurred-bkgrnd.jpgThe afternoon finished with a game of bingo, with students and residents working together in pairs. The youngsters helped the older folk fill in their scoresheets, and gave the prizes to residents. Afterwards one teacher said, “This was a great afternoon – hopefully we’ll be back soon.”

One lady who lives at St Joseph’s said, “The children are very polite and well behaved. It’s lovely to have them visit, we really enjoy their company.”

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