Children are active participants in intergenerational care learning opportunities and programs, however, children’s agency within these programs is often not clear. The perspectives and contributions children make in intergenerational programs needs to be considered as part of children’s rights to have a say on matters that affect them.

Understanding young children’s experiences in intergenerational care programs and unpacking the level of choice and impact these programs have on their lives is a critical, yet understudied, area in the intergenerational practice literature.

Jennifer Cartmel, Katrina Radford, Kevin Bell, Xanthe Golenko, Anneke Fitzgerald from the Intergenerational Care Project have co-authored a chapter on this topic titled ‘Hearing children’s voices in intergenerational learning and practice’, published recently in the book ‘Intergenerational Learning in Practice: Together Old and Young’, edited by Margaret Kernan and Giulia Cortellesi.

The chapter discusses the use of strategies to explore young children’s voices and experiences of services in which they participate. The example of a case study from a pilot intergenerational care program, which took place in in Brisbane, Australia, and gathered the voices and experiences of seven of the three to five-year-old children who participated is discussed.

The case study used photo elicitation to seek children’s perspectives about their experiences. The children shared ideas about the physical location of the program as well as the relationships they made with the older adults. The chapter is intended to stimulate further conversations and research about strategies to consult with children who are participating in intergenerational care programs.

For more information, visit the Intergenerational Care Program website.