Issue nr. 17 - 29/04/2020

We are writing this newsletter as children in Spain get to go out of their houses for the first time in 6 weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day we also hear stories of missed hugs and time together from grandparents and grandchildren. At the same time, government leaders around the world are trying to make wise decisions about loosening the social distancing restrictions that have been necessary to save lives.

These extraordinary times are a stark reminder of just how important social contact and solidarity between all generations are.

To mark the annual European Day of Solidarity between Generations (29 April), we are featuring in this issue the creative solutions that TOY partners and supporters have designed to maintain intergenerational contact and well-being in their communities during and post the Pandemic. We also have news about a just published thought-provoking and beautiful new book about age-inclusive public space.

Latest News - Intergenerational initiatives during COVID-19

Participants in TOY Online Course share their ideas

Eighty-five learners from all parts of the world participated in the latest edition of TOY Online Course, which finished on 13 April. Coinciding as it did with COVID-19 pandemic, the Course provided a welcome forum to exchange ideas about how to maintain IG contact during ‘lockdown’ and in the coming months. Here are two contributions:

In my community we have started a project where grandparents record themselves reading bedtime stories for their grandchildren. The videos are being shared among participants too so all children can watch and listen to loads of stories. This project is very new and while we have had some hiccups, for example all picture no sound in one video, all participants are enjoying it. (learner from Co. Kerry Ireland).

I think post Corona virus there will be even greater need for intergenerational learning as there will be even more significant isolation in our communities that we will all have to learn to overcome. Now is actually a great time to begin planning neighbourhood level initiatives and thinking about how we will welcome each other once restrictions have been lifted. (Ali Somers, London, England)

The next edition of the Course beginning October 2020 (see below) will include new material on the impact of COVID-19, such as how intergenerational relationships are viewed and how we organize our societies.


TOY for Inclusion Play Hubs supporting disadvantaged families during COVID-19

TOY for Inclusion is the gateway to education and care for many children of disadvantaged communities. 

This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Quick thinking, creativity and commitment has been demonstrated by all 15 ECEC Play Hubs and their Local Action Teams in Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia and Turkey.

Read more about it here

TOY for Inclusion is coordinated by ICDI and funded by Erasmus+ Programme and Open Society Foundations (OSF).


Letter exchanges between young children and older adults in Co. Meath, Ireland

A ‘graduate’ of the inaugural TOY Online Course, Eilish Balfe describes how the children in her preschool, Happy Days are keeping in touch with their friends in the local nursing home.

Happy Days preschool have been visiting our local nursing home, Ratoath Manor for 3 years. After the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ireland on 29th February, the nursing home took action to close the home to visitors. The children were devastated that they wouldn’t be able to see their friends anymore. We had to come up with new ideas to keep the lines of communication open. So with a modern twist to an old fashioned way of communication we began emailing letters and pictures to our friends. Since we always visited on a Monday we now email our pictures or record a song or a message to be sent in on a Monday.   This has gone down extremely well with the residents and who look forward to our letters. It also allows the children to still engage with the residents while they are also in isolation. Little messages like, ‘keep safe, keep cocooning and in a little while we will be able to see each other again’ are so important.


IG Programs and Physical Distancing Guide from Generations United

Generations United developed a guide to share ideas and solutions on how intergenerational professionals can adapt programs and activities and create new intergenerational connections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to download the guide.


TOY for Quality Programme – Congratulations Playgroup Queensland – Ageless Play

Congratulations to Playgroup Queensland – the Ageless Play team for their successful completion of the TOY for Quality Programme. Ageless Play is an intergenerational playgroup program in the state of Queensland, Australia. At the end of February there were 16 Ageless Play playgroups in operation with plans for further expansion. 

Reflecting on their participation, Dr. Maree Stanley (Research and Evaluation) and Penny Allen (Head of Programs), said, “Participating in TOY for Quality has been a fantastic experience for us. It has assisted us to develop an action plan. Also by collecting the evidence for each of the quality dimensions, we realized just how much we have done already. We plan to use the TOY for Quality dimensions in our reflection meetings with Ageless Play facilitators”.

For more information about Ageless Play see their Facebook page or contact Penny Allen at:

If you are interested in improving the quality of your intergenerational learning practice and wish to apply for the TOY for Quality Programme contact us at, or visit the TOY for Quality page.


TOY at the Scottish Generations Together Conference

One of the last conferences to take place, before the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled all large group gatherings, was the national conference organized by Scotland’s Generations Working Together, which took place on 4th March 2020 in Glasgow.

Anne Fitzpatrick and Carmel Gallagher, members of the TOY Consortium from the Technological University Dublin, Ireland were fortunate to attend. Read their report of the event here.


New book: Age-inclusive public spaces

If you enjoyed Dominique Hauderowicz and Kristian Ly Serena’s chapter in the TOY book, Together Old and Young (2019), you will absolutely love their new edited book, ‘Age-Inclusive Public Space’.  According to Dominique and Kristian, who are based in Copenhagen, the book was conceived as a dialogue between practicing architects and contributors from a variety of academic disciplines. It is a richly illustrated kaleidoscopic compilation of academic articles, interviews, essays, site visits about the many facets of age-inclusive spatial practice.

Dominique and Kristian are especially interested in the social potential of architecture. In the books' introduction they write, ‘It is our firm belief that it is conscious reflection, rather than ready-made solutions, this is required if we are to create truly age-inclusive environments’. This beautiful volume could prove very significant for urban planners, designers and practitioners committed to IG practice in the months and years ahead – post COVID-19.

For more information about the book and where to get it, click here.

You can also listen to this podcast where Marshall Poe from the New Books Network interviews Kristian Ly Serena about the book. 



Child in the City Conference, Dublin, Ireland. POSTPONED until 2021

A presentation about TOY for Inclusion has been accepted for the Child in the City Conference. This was originally scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland 15-17 September 2020. Due to COVID-19 pandemic it has now been postponed until second half of 2021.


International IG Conference, Kobe, Japan, September 2020, CANCELLED

The international conference on Intergenerational Programs and Practices, which was to take place in Kobe, Japan between 16 and 18 September 2020 is unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19.


TOY Online Course GOES AHEAD as usual 5 October to 15 November 2020

Happy to confirm that the next TOY Online Course will go ahead as scheduled from 5 October until 15 November 2020.

Registration will be open from beginning of September via TOY Course page. More information about the Course updates in the next issue of the TOY Newsletter.


On the TOY website we commit to provide current and ground-making news, research and developments about the world of intergenerational learning involving young children and older adults. If you have a news item you would like to share with us, please contact us at: 

International Child Development Initatives- ICDI

Margaret Kernan and Giulia Cortellesi 

Together Old and Young will build age friendly communities