Building Community: Intergenerational Projects with Young Children

Matthew Kaplan, Elizabeth Larkin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter focuses on programs and activities that have a community building thrust. Intergenerational projects are framed as inclusive opportunities for community participation and improvement, creating a foundation for trusting relationships across age groups. Through a mutual investment of interest, time, and energy all generations contribute to making their community livable for everyone. Projects are designed so that children, older adults, and other project participants learn with and from one another about the shared community, including both the constructed and the natural environments. Examples of site- and theme-specific projects include creating community gardens and green spaces, and neighborhood beautification projects such as murals and clean-up drives. These intergenerational projects are designed to enhance the social as well as the physical environment of communities. Although some projects might take longer and face more challenges than with just adult volunteers, the experience of interacting across age groups and diverse capabilities brings an appreciation of different ideas and contributions to build a sense of community solidarity. One principle for working to establish such positive intergenerational dynamics is to create context and programmatic opportunity for older adults to offer information, cultural traditions, and historical perspective in ways that enrich young children’s community exploration experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEducating the Young Child
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameEducating the Young Child
ISSN (Print)2543-0610
ISSN (Electronic)2543-0629

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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