Together Old and Young

The Developmental Research Center for Pedagogical Initiatives Step by Step, operating within the Educational Research Institute in Slovenia, is involved in a two-year (2012–2014) Grundtvig Multilateral Project Together Old and Young – TOY: young children and senior citizens learning and developing in intergenerational community spaces.

Together Old and Young (TOY) promotes bringing young children and older people together.

Together Old and Young (TOY) promotes bringing young children and older people together.

About the project

The TOY project aims to bring together young children up to nine years with elderly people so that they can learn together and from each other, socialise and have fun together. This is  intergenerational learning. TOY is being funded under the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme – Grundtvig and is being implemented by nine partner organisations in seven European countries.

Literature review

In the first phase of the project, a literature review on intergenerational learning involving young children and older people was carried out. In this review, we discussed the perception of the growing separation between children and older adults, reviewed the benefits of intergenerational practice for both old and young, and described a number of intergenerational initiatives in Europe which involve young children and older people. The findings of the literature review have been summarised in a colourful summary report in 8 languages.

Action research

In the second phase of the project, the TOY partners visited 21 intergenerational learning activities in order to find out more about how young children and older people can benefit from learning together. This action research involved a more in-depth investigation of certain individuals, groups or initiatives identified in project’s first phase. The result of this second phase is a guide to community-based intergenerational initiatives in Europe, and you can also have a look at the detailed 21 case studies reports, organized per country. At the end of December 2013, we published a summary report in eight languages illustrated with photographs and quotations of participants (e-version is available on the TOY website).

TOY aims to build age-friendly communities.

TOY aims to build age-friendly communities.

Next steps

During subsequent phases of TOY in 2013 and 2014 we will develop Capacity Building Modules for practitioners and senior volunteers and ‘pilot’ them in five countries followed by a Toolkit for Intergenerational Learning, which will be published on the TOY website. Between March and August 2014, TOY project will support one or two intergenerational Pilot Actions involving young children and older people in five countries. They will be documented in a multi-media report, available in the autumn of 2014 on the TOY website. The Capacity Building Modules and Pilot Actions will put into practice lessons learned in the previous phases of the project. In October 2014, the final International TOY Conference will take place in Leiden, the Netherlands. Information about the speakers, program and registration will be made available on the project website in the spring of 2014. For more information, contact TOY Project coordinator Margaret Kernan.


Jerneja Jager is a coordinator for TOY project in Slovenia.

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