Unidentified Rural Schoolhouse

Image by Wisconsin Historical Images via Flickr

In my years of employment in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, I found it helpful to include discussions related to events in the community. With back to school fliers filling the paper, and children once again returning to school, this is a timely discussions to which you can tie many themed activities. And in my experience it is one that often elicited a strong response. Whether you work in a facility or visit family members or friends living in a facility, here are some conversation ideas and a few songs to spark up your visits.

Conversation starters:

  • What were our favorite subjects in school?
  • How many rooms/grades levels did you school have? (Many older adults in rural areas attended one or two room schools and maybe had 20 students in first through seventh grade.)
  • What were your favorite games at recess?
  • How far did you travel/walk to get to school?
  • Did you ever give an apple to your teacher?
  • Did you ever get picked to help clean the chalkboard erasers in your class? Was it a privilege or a punishment?

If people have memory issues try some of these props to help get conversations going: ruler, lined paper, Big Chef notebook, small chalk board with chalk, crayons,

Songs to sing together:

If children are visiting, include: The Alphabet Song, School House Rock songs (people with children currently in their 50’s or younger may remember these from Saturday morning TV.)

What would you add to these lists?

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