Issue nr. 11 - 12/02/2018

TOY kicked in the New Year with many activities. In January, the TOY-PLUS team met in Lleida, Spain and the TOY Programme was presented in Brussels. The most important news this issue is the opening of the ECEC Play Hubs for TOY for Inclusion. This newsletter also coincides with the latest TOY blogpost this time from Italy with a leading role for Japan. For more information on all of the above and more, read on. 

Latest News

TOY continues in Catalunya

TOY for Inclusion 

ECEC Play Hubs have now opened in 6 European countries: Belgium, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia. These have been developed in the context of the TOY Programme in partnership with the REYN Network and are designed to mobilize local communities around young children. Intergenerational play and learning activities involving older people with and without a Roma background are being organized in the ECEC Play Hubs. 

Anna Dirdova, mother of six children participating in the Spissky Hrhov ECEC Play Hub in Slovakia is very enthusiastic:

“I have never felt so welcome and respected before. The new place I have just visited with my kids is something we should have had much sooner. My boys are happy to play with other kids from the village and nobody treats them any differently. They even have the chance to use books and toys I could never afford. What a perfect place!”

Click here for the information leaflet for communities about the ECEC Play Hubs.

Click here more information about all the ECEC Play Hubs.

TOY for Inclusion is coordinated by ICDI and funded by DG Justice – European Commission and Open Society Foundations (OSF). 

Click here for more information about TOY for Inclusion.



2018 will be a significant year for the TOY-PLUS project: the TOY online course will ‘go live’ by Autumn and the intergenerational learning quality assessment tool, TOY for Quality, will also be launched. In preparation, the seven European partners developing these two publications met in Lleida in Spain in the end of January 2018.

A visit to one of the Lleida’s municipal playcentres, Ludoteca Municipal Cappont was also part of the programme. We had an opportunity to talk with the children, older adults and facilitators participating in the intergenerational activities which the playcentre organize.

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch about participating in the pilot phase of the online TOY Course. Registration for pilot course, which takes place April to May this year is now closed. 

For those of you who are interested in taking the online TOY Course in the Autumn, you can complete an Expression of Interest form which will be available with the next issue of the TOY Newsletter, May/June 2018.

Click here for more information about TOY-PLUS

TOY-PLUS is coordinated by ICDI and is funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Programme.

New publications

TOY Blog: intergenerational learning from Italy to Japan

La Crèche in Merate, Italy have been running their intergenerational summer camp since the beginning of the TOY Project (2013). News of this innovative Intergenerational Learning initiative has spread far afield. Recently, they hosted a delegation from Japan. Silvia Porta, from La Crèche, writes about the experience in this blog.

Read the TOY blog here.

If you are interested in writing for the TOY blog please contact us:  


Article: Intergenerational practice: a win-win situation

Carmel Gallagher and Anne Fitzpatrick wrote a paper that explores the level and sustainability of intergenerational practice in early years and elder care settings in Ireland. The paper is based on a small-scale research study involving interviews with staff in five organizations and builds on findings from previous research conducted for the TOY project. The paper examines the pedagogies involved as well as the community context of intergenerational practice in early years and elder care settings. The findings highlight that sustainable intergenerational practice is facilitated by strong pedagogies that support active and relational learning across the life course and by being embedded in robust community networks. Click here to read the article

TOY at International Event

95-year-old teacher: an IGL programme from Seattle (U.S.)

Playful learning – TOY presented in Brussels

Research shows that play and learning are the best combination for the kind of learning that is necessary in the 21st century. It is becoming clear that we must educate lifelong learners, and as people usually like doing things they enjoy, playfulness and creativity are important elements.

This was a key message at a Brussels event on playful learning jointly hosted by the European Parents’ Association and the European Economic and Social Committee which took place on  24 January.

We were honoured to be invited to present the TOY approach, an inspiring practice in playful intergenerational learning, at the event.

Click here to read an article on the event where Mathijs Euwema, Director of ICDI, presented TOY. 

Upcoming Events

International ‘Engaging Ageing’ Conference, Dublin, 13-14 March 2018

Dublin City University In collaboration with partners in education from Europe, North America, Canada, and South Korea are hosting the second international age-friendly universities conference in March 2018. The event will bring together institutes of higher education, policy makers, government and civic society to share, debate and explore new frontiers of ageing across a broad range of themes.

TOY partners from Ireland and Northern Ireland, DIT and LGNI respectively, will be giving presentations about their intergenerational work at the Conference.

Click here for more information about the conference.

News from TOY partners

Linking Generations Northern Ireland (LGNI) projects given a Peoples’ Project Award

Between September 2017 and January 2018, TOY partner, Linking Generations Northern Irelands (LGNI) initiated three projects which connected care homes with local primary school children in art projects facilitated by local artists. The aim was to engage the local community in activities that would overcome social isolation, create memorable art work and build real and lasting relationships and provide encouragement towards future volunteering opportunities.

The projects began with the children taking part in Dementia Awareness Training, becoming Dementia friends and learning skills that would help good communication. There then followed four art sessions facilitated by an arts facilitator concluding with an Exhibition of the Art work in the care home and a celebration of what had been achieved.

The three projects were:- Glencarron Nursing Home Crossmaglen and St. Patrick’s Primary School Gaelscoil Phàdraig Naofa; Spelga Mews Care Home and Bridge Integrated Primary School Banbridge and Gillaroo Lodge Nursing Home and Roddensvale School Larne

In all over ninety pupils successfully participated in the dementia awareness training and forty-five pupils completed art sessions with 35 care home residents. All three were a great success and have led to follow-up visits and activities that are planned to continue into the future.

The Peoples Project Awards are supported by the Big Lottery Fund and Ulster television (UTV).

Want to Start Your Own Intergenerational Initiative? 


Are you a practitioner working with older adults or young children?

Are you looking for a way to start IGL activities in your community?

Are you a manager or a practitioner in a preschool or in a daycare centre and thinking about connecting with a nearby home for older adults?

We can help!

The TOY team can provide you with training, mentoring and consultancy.

We would love to connect with you and find out how we can support your activities and answer any questions you might have! 

Please contact 


On the TOY website we are committed 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