Rather than hold a "Dress like a 100 year-old" day on the 100th day of school, why not implement positive, impactful programming that honors aging and promotes kindness across generations?
We strive to end "Dress like a 100-year-old" days throughout Connecticut and believe that teachers should use this day as a meaningful opportunity for our youngest citizens to learn about the value of aging. The following are a few ideas for the 100th day of school that teachers can use to help children think positively about aging and older adults.
Ideas for books are:
* Say Hello, Lily by Deborah Lakritz
* Hearts Always Open by Glenna Orr
* The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
* On Grandpa's Farm by Vivian Sathre
* Grandpa's Town by Takaaki Nomura
* Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me by David Gutnick
* Tom by Tomie dePaola
* How Does It Feel to be Old by Norma Farber
* Hit the Road by Caroline Cooney
* Emma by Wendy Kesselman
* A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu
* Loop the Loop by Barbara Dougan
Visually demonstrate the experience and wisdom of aging by bringing two (or three) jars into the classroom. Fill one with beans, dried pasta, marbles, pennies, or whatever you have on hand to represent the fullness of a life well lived. Put 5 or 6 of the same item into the second jar to demonstrate to the students that they are just beginning to experience life. (If you include a third jar, it can represent birth.) Talk with the students about what it means to "fill the jar" as you age, the benefits of making new friends, experiencing new places, etc.
Invite a 100-year-old (or someone soon to be 100 years old) from your local community to talk to your class about what life was like when (s)he was a child, what types of activities s(he) enjoyed, what s(he) did as an adult for a career (or stay-at-home parent), and what s(he) enjoys doing for fun now. Coordinate ahead of time with the older adult on what s(he) enjoys and incorporate a student activity around that interest into the experience. (If the adult enjoys reading, incorporate reading a book (perhaps one from the list above) to the children; if the adult enjoys crafts, let the adult lead the students through a craft, etc.)
Take the students to an adult living community to connect with a group of older adults while doing a craft such as rock painting. Bring along a set of icebreaker questions to get the students talking with the adults.