Whether it’s staying out until dark perfecting your free throw with your uncle, finally mastering the secret family recipe with your grandmother or teaching a younger cousin the latest viral TikTok dance, bonding over hobbies is a common backdrop for intergenerational lifelong learning that happens naturally among family and friends. And this past semester, a new program at The Intergenerational School – East gave Refining and Apply Stage (GLE 5-8) students, teachers and community partners the opportunity to connect and learn from one another in the same way.

Through a series of “mini-courses,” teachers and community partners shared their passions and hobbies with students through weekly learning sessions. Each student selected and enrolled in up to four different mini-courses from a selection that included Newspaper Club, Dance Genres, Tour the World, Design Takeover, Yoga, Basketball, TIS Beautification and many more.

Applying Stage (GLE 7-8) students practice their cursive handwriting in Mrs. Sylvester’s Penmanship Mini-Course.

Following Curiosity to Develop Skills

These mini-courses exemplify the Intergenerational Schools’ commitment to enabling students to learn and develop by pursuing their personal interests and natural curiosity. Teachers and partners hosted the mini-course sessions twice a week throughout the semester, during which students built new skills, practiced creativity and strengthened relationships with their peers and teachers. “Holding the space for students to explore and practice self-expression is so important for their personal and academic development,” said Kristal Funk, Interim TIS-East Principal. “They had fun, deepened friendships and brought renewed confidence and engagement into every part of their school day. It’s these authentic experiences that the Intergens community is so masterful at creating for students.”

Applying Stage (GLE 7-8) students join a dance and fitness artist from Dance by Sha’Ran’s Studio in guided Yoga for fitness.

Innovative Lifelong Learning Experiences

With the support of teachers and community partners invested in each student’s progress through personalized instruction, opportunities like the TIS-East mini-courses demonstrate how our schools are transforming the school experience across our network. While students benefit, first and foremost, the Intergens culture of boundless learning strengthens a love for learning not just for students but also for teachers and partners. Community partner Jacinda Walker, a Cleveland native, professional designer and founder of the social enterprise DesignExplorr, hosted a mini-course called “Design Takeover” to share her passion for the world of design. She introduced activities throughout the semester to showcase various career paths and concepts of design, and students learned how designers work through challenges and artistic prototyping, creating their own videos as their final project.

Refining Stage (GLE 5-6) students practice their basketball fundamentals and basics with Mr. Harris in the Basketball Skills Training Mini-Course.

You can Help Us Finish the School Year Strong

Students on Ms. Adam’s TIS Beautification Team decorate the halls with their artwork during their Mini-Course.

The Intergenerational Schools are only able to connect, create and guide our multi-generational community of lifelong learners and spirited citizens with the involvement of each person dedicated to seeing students thrive and grow. We are grateful to the teachers and community partners who shared their gifts and made this semester’s mini-courses such a success. Whatever your gifts and passions, you can strengthen our community and help us finish the school year strong. Learn more about how to contribute your time, talent and treasure to transform the school experience.

Read more about the Intergenerational Schools on our Thrive and Grow Blog!