Intergenerational preschool experiences and the young child: Potential benefits to development

Elia E. Femia, Steven H. Zarit, Clancy Blair, Shannon E. Jarrott, Kelly Bruno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We conducted an exploratory study evaluating the potential impact of intergenerational programming (IG) on children's socio-emotional development, behavior, school performance, and attitudes and behavior toward older adults. Children currently in kindergarten through second grade (age range: 6-8 years old) who previously attended one of two preschools of comparably high quality and serving families of similar demographic profiles were compared 1-3 years after graduating from their respective programs. One program offered intergenerational (IG) programming while the other was a traditional single-generation program (SG). Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the child and one of his/her parents in their home. In addition, a mail survey was sent to the child's school teacher. The study explored whether children exposed to IG had differential outcomes on specific measures as compared to children who attended the SG program. Results showed that children from the IG program had higher levels of social acceptance, a greater willingness to help and greater empathy for older people, slightly more positive attitudes, and better able to self-regulate their behavior than children from the SG program. Although limited by the lack of a pre-post experimental design, these results provide initial evidence that an IG program can offer additional benefits to children's development whose impact can last into the their early school age years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-287
Number of pages16
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Attitudes toward older adults
  • Child perception of elderly
  • Empathy
  • Intergenerational outcomes
  • Intergenerational program
  • Preschool program
  • Social acceptance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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