Introducing the GrandPals Program

Connecting Generations Through Storytelling. A Quick Reference for Educators.

Home » Educators


The GrandPals Program is an intergenerational program that fosters connections between upper elementary students (Grades 5 to 8) and older adults (GrandPals) aged 55+.

Through weekly open conversations, students learn through storytelling and gain valuable insights from the life experiences of their GrandPals.

Grandpals for Educators

Goals and Objectives

The program aims to:

  • Anchor reciprocal sharing around universal life themes, encouraging meaningful intergenerational dialogue, empathy and storytelling.
  • Task students with discovering, capturing, and sharing a story from their GrandPal’s life.
  • Align with language and arts curricula, while also developing learning skills like collaboration, initiative, and responsibility.
  • Culminate in a community-wide celebration and sharing of the students’ work.

I enjoy GrandPals. And it makes me feel like, even though I know I’m getting older, I’m still very important to the children.


Older Adult

The highlight of my teaching career so far was doing this GrandPals project.



It’s so life changing. It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone.



How it Works: The Big Picture

Classroom Sign Up
(by principal and/or teacher)
GrandPals engaged & prepared
(by the supporting community organization)
Intergenerational, In-School Sessions
Student Project Work
  1. A classroom teacher (ideally gr. 5 or 6) signs up to invite GrandPals into their classroom.
  2. A volunteer (i.e. community champion), typically from a local supporting community organization, invites older adults to enroll as participants.
  3. The community champion works in partnership with the school principal to ensure vetting (i.e. a vulnerable sector check and character check) is completed by each GrandPal.
  4. Prior to intergenerational classroom sessions, GrandPals participate in a multi-session orientation to identify meaningful life stories to share with students.
  1. Each GrandPal is paired by the classroom teacher with small groups of 3-4 students for weekly sessions and themed discussions, building relationships and sharing experiences.
  2. GrandPals and students meet for at least 8 sessions for shared storytelling and learning.
  3. Students work on preparing weekly discussion questions and capturing a unique GrandPal story through writing and art.
  4. The end of program celebration concludes the program and is an opportunity to invite family and community members to meet one another and hear about the culminating projects.

Program Duration for the Classroom

  • The program spans at least 8 sessions.
  • Sessions typically take place from late March to June, allowing time for recruitment, vetting, and orientation of GrandPals during the Fall and Winter.
  • Each session between students and GrandPals is generally 45-60 min. 
  • Class time is also spent outside of sessions during language and art blocks, as students prepare weekly discussion questions and capture a unique GrandPal story through writing and art. Language and art curriculum requirements are thus met in a real-world, integrated, and engaging way, while reducing the need for regular language and art block planning by the teacher.
  • Teachers can adapt the timeline based on past experience or expand the number of sessions and themes discussed.

Curriculum Alignment and Learning Outcomes

The program aligns well with language and visual arts curricula:

  • Students read, think, and respond to weekly discussion questions, developing oral communication skills through small group meetings with GrandPals.
  • Students develop their writing skills, as they discover, capture and share a story from their GrandPal’s life in written format. 
  • Visual arts requirements are met as students represent their GrandPal’s story through a creative expression.

The program also aims to achieve:

  • Learning skills development, including collaboration, initiative, and responsibility. Students collaborate in the context of small group meeting times, while taking initiative and responsibility for project work and presentation. 
  • Social and emotional growth as students connect with their GrandPals.

Key Activities and Interactions

  • Weekly small group discussion sessions revolve around life themes like home, family, learning, work, and travel/adventure.
  • Students discover, capture, and share stories through writing and art, culminating in a final book presented to GrandPals and the wider community at the end-of-program celebration event.

This program’s been great for my daughter. She has much more appreciation for the seniors in our community. And she’s much more willing and wanting to help. Something as simple as opening a door for a senior in a public place, in a shop, just stopping and saying hello. Offering to help – those are the types of changes I’ve seen in my daughter – it’s just been wonderful.

Jeremy Curry


Teacher Support and Resources

  • Teachers receive support from a program coordinator and community champion from the supporting community / affiliate organization. 
  • Classroom resources include a project kick-off slide deck, weekly discussion questions, video lessons, and an online portal for program coordination.
  • Program effectiveness is evaluated through teacher and GrandPal surveys.

The GrandPals Project offers a unique opportunity for meaningful intergenerational connections, enhancing academic, social, and emotional development among students while promoting understanding, empathy, and mutual respect between different generations. The program’s focus on storytelling creates a nurturing environment for learning, fostering valuable experiences for all participants.

Join the Program Today

Our Vision

To create a world of deeper intergenerational learning, storytelling and friendship. We do this by working with select local organizations and their communities to implement the GrandPals Program in Canada.

Contact Us