We are thrilled to announce that Longacre has been chosen as joint winner of the Independent School of the Year 2020 for Community Outreach. The judges said “Longacre’s commitment to bring 4 year-olds to learn alongside the residents of a retirement village was inspirational”.

The school was nominated in recognition of the strong community links we have developed with Elmbridge Retirement Village in the nearby village of Cranleigh. The initiative was started by Deputy Head, Ben Moir and Head of Pre-Prep, Nicki Mould.

“The idea was inspired by the Channel 4 series ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’, where a nursery was created within a retirement village in Nottingham. I was looking at the benefits of mixing our children with the residents, particularly as some of our children do not have grandparents or live a long way away from them.” says Mr Moir.

Since September 2019 the children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 have taken it in turn to visit the residents at Elmbridge on a weekly basis. During their weekly visits the children spend time reading with the residents and working together on the topics they have been learning about in school such as Kings and Queens and Transport.

The residents have also enjoyed paying regular return visits to the children at Longacre. They are collected by the school minibus and then spend a couple of hours enjoying singing and craft activities with the children such as icing biscuits and making clay hedgehogs. Residents were also invited to watch the Pre-Prep Nativity play which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Although COVID-19 has put a pause on their visits for now, the children have been staying in contact with their friends at Elmbridge and exchanged letters during the lockdown. More recently they have also been using Zoom in school to play Bingo and enjoy a sing-a-long with the residents.