Ask Gran Not Google
Thousands of school children will receive an extra lesson in the wisdom of elders during the next year courtesy of a groundbreaking initiative that urges them to ‘Ask Gran Not Google’.
Having launched as a pilot project on a much smaller scale, aged care provider Feros Care is set to roll out the program in almost 150 schools across several states after securing a Strong and Resilient Communities Grant from the Federal Government Department of Social Services.
The program will receive $536,250 over three years, with schools in Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria the first to be invited to apply to participate.
In the lead-up to Grandparents Day on October 28, primary and secondary students from participating schools will be asked to switch off their devices and seek answers to life’s questions from a more experienced, senior source.
As part of the program, students are asked to write or video message questions to seniors in their life – from close grandparents and those miles away to neighbours, community members and Feros Care residential village residents.
Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley said the not-for-profit organisation was thrilled to expand the program following the success of its initial pilot.
“Ask Gran Not Google has received such amazing feedback from both students and teachers and we are delighted the Federal Government has thrown its support behind the program to help further build and foster intergenerational connections,” she said.
“It’s incredible how much this program has opened up the hearts and minds of all involved and reminded us of the valuable role seniors play, both within our families and our community.
It’s remarkable what can be achieved when kids put down their smartphones, laptops or whatever piece of technology they have and seek wisdom from a senior instead.
More than 1000 primary and secondary students participated in the pilot program, with 10 schools in Queensland and New South Wales embracing the chance to trial the initiative.
Ask Gran Not Google is the brainchild of Feros Care’s Shelly Fletcher, whose family banned technology in favour of going to another trusted source of knowledge and wisdom – grandparents.
Ms Fletcher said she and her cousins did a family experiment where all questions were directed at ‘Nana’ and ‘Pop’ first before searching online.
“It’s incredible that what started as an experiment among my family is now sparking a much bigger conversation about the wisdom, experience and value our seniors can bring to the lives of young people,” she said.
Ms Buckley said the program was also about building intergenerational relationships.
“Seniors can teach children positive attitudes towards ageing and help them develop skills to enhance lifelong learning in ways the internet is unable to,” she said.
“And it’s just as beneficial for seniors as it can promote improved health and wellbeing.”
Feros Care is aiming for Ask Gran Not Google to reach 91,000 students across more than 950 schools during the next three years.