All course information is listed within this syllabus.

EDCE/CIED 845: Intergenerational Programs and Practices (3 credits). Background, intervention strategies, and issues related to developing intergenerational programs and practices aimed at addressing vital social and community issues.

Prerequisites: None


Instructor for EDCE/CIED 845

Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D.
Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging

Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
7A Ferguson Building
University Park, PA 16802

Phone (Office): 814-863-7871
E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox


Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D., is professor of intergenerational programs and aging in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education. In this position, he conducts research, develops curricular resources, and provides statewide leadership in the development and evaluation of intergenerational programs. Dr. Kaplan's work focuses on intergenerational programs and practices from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective. His graduate training is in environmental psychology, an interdisciplinary field that examines the interrelationship between people and their physical environments (Ph.D. from the City University of New York Graduate Center, 1991).

Course Overview

This course explores intergenerational programs and practices found in schools, community organizations, retirement communities, healthcare facilities, and other community settings. We will examine their significance for enriching lives (across the lifespan), promoting family cohesion, strengthening community support systems, and reinforcing a sense of cultural identity and continuity. You will learn how this finite domain of inquiry and action, often referred to as the "intergenerational studies field," is bounded by a clear set of approaches, questions, and skills that intergenerational practitioners need to function effectively. You will learn about developmentally and culturally appropriate strategies for working with multi-generational groups and the role of the built environment in influencing intergenerational communication. The subject matter is drawn from research and practice in many academic disciplines including child development, education, gerontology, social work, psychology, sociology, anthropology, family studies, community development, communication, and public policy. The primary emphasis of the course is on answering questions related to how to develop effective programs, but information is also included on the "whats" and the "whys" of intergenerational programming.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will:

  • Become acquainted with the background, state-of-the-art, and benefits of intergenerational programs for the participants, their families, organizations/agencies involved, and the overall community.
  • Gain practical skills in intergenerational program planning, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Gain knowledge about dozens of successful intergenerational program models that contribute to healthy human development, stronger families, and more cohesive, caring communities.
  • Learn strategies for communicating more effectively with co-workers and family members of different generations.

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to your Syllabus and Calendar within Canvas.

References and Resources

[Additional readings are noted after each week's materials. Readings with an asterisk (*) are required.]

Brabazon, K. & Disch, R. (1997). Intergenerational approaches in aging: Implications for education, policy and practice. New York, NY.: Haworth Press.

Eheart, B. K., Hopping, D., Power, M. B., Mitchell, E. T., & Racine, D. (2009). Generations of Hope communities: An intergenerational neighborhood model of support and service. Children and Youth Services Review, 31(1), 47–52.

*Generations United (2021). Making the case for intergenerational programs (PDF). Washington DC: Generations United. Available online.

Generations United Publications Webpage: [links to GU publication, factsheets, and reports].

Hatton-Yeo, A. and Ohsako, T., (Eds.) (2000). Intergenerational programmes: Public policy and research implications: An international perspective. Hamburg, Germany: UNESCO Institute for Education.

Jarrott, S.E., Scrivano, R.M., Park, C., Mendoza, A.N. (2021). Implementation of evidence-based practices in intergenerational programming: A scoping review. Res Aging. 43 (7–8), 283–93. doi: 10.1177/0164027521996191

*Kaplan, M. (2002). Intergenerational programs in schools: Considerations of form and function. International Review of Education, 48(4), 305-334.

(An earlier paper, accessible online): Kaplan, M. (2001). "School-based intergenerational programs." Part of occasional paper series. UNESCO, Institute for Education. Hamburg, Germany. (43 pages). Available online.

*Kaplan, M. and Hanhardt, L. (2003). Intergenerational activities sourcebook. [Compilation of 53 "effective practice" intergenerational activities; 90 pages.] Penn State Cooperative Extension, University Park, PA. [Downloadable .pdf version: Intergenerational Activities Sourcebook]

*Kaplan, M., Haider, J., Cohen, U., and Turner, D. (2007). Environmental design perspectives on intergenerational programs and practices: An emergent conceptual framework. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 5(2), 81-110.

Kaplan, M., Henkin, N., and Kusano, A. (Eds.). (2002). Linking lifetimes: A global view of intergenerational exchange. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Kaplan, M., Nussbaum, J., Becker, J., Fowler, C., and Pitts, M. (2009). Communication barriers to family farm succession planning. Journal of Extension, 47(5). October. Available online.

Kaplan, M. & Sanchez, M. (2014). Intergenerational programs and policies in ageing societies. In S. Harper and K. Hamblin (Eds.). International handbook on ageing and public policy (pp. 367-383). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Kaplan, M., Sanchez, M., and Hoffman, J. (2017). Intergenerational pathways to a sustainable society. New York, NY: Springer.

Kaplan, M., Sanchez, M., Shelton, C., & Bradley, L. (2013). Using Technology to Connect Generations - Report and program profiles database. Washington, D.C.: Generations United.

Kaplan, M., Thang, L.L., Sanchez, M. & Hoffman, J. (Eds.). (2016). Intergenerational Contact Zones - A Compendium of Applications (14 chapters). Online publication. University Park, PA: Penn State Extension. URL:

Kingston, E., Hirshorn, B., & Cornman, J. (1986). Ties that bind: The interdependence of generations. Cabin John, MD: Seven Locks Press.

Krasny, M.E. & Doyle, R. 2002. Participatory approaches to program development and engaging youth in research: The case of an intergenerational urban community gardening program. Journal of Extension, 40 (5).

Kuehne, V. (2013). Intergenerational programs: Understanding what we have created. New York, NY: Routledge.

Kuehne, V. and Kaplan, M. (2001). Evaluation and research on intergenerational shared site facilities and programs: What we know and what we need to learn (Project SHARE Background Paper #1). Washington, D.C.: Generations United.

MacCalum, J., Palmer, D., Wright, P., Cumming-Potvin, W., Northcote, J., Brooker, M., and Tero, C. (2006). Community Building through Intergenerational Exchange Programs. National Youth Affairs Research Scheme. Australia.

Mercken, C. (2003). Neighborhood-Reminiscence: Integrating generations and cultures in the Netherlands. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 1(1), 81-94.

Newman, S., Ward, C.R., Smith, T.B., Wilson, J., and McCrea, J.M. (1997). Intergenerational programs: past, present and future. Bristol, PA: Taylor & Francis.

Nelischer, C., & Loukaitou-Sideris, A. (2023). Intergenerational Public Space Design and Policy: A Review of the LiteratureJournal of Planning Literature38(1), 19-32.

Penn State Intergenerational Program (main webpage), Links and Resources, [highlights various programs, organizations, curricular resources, reports, etc. related to intergenerational programming and aging]

*Sanchez, M. (2009). Intergenerational program evaluation. First Edition (in Spanish), 2007. First English Edition, 2009. Madrid, Spain: Spanish National Institute for Older Persons and Social Services.

Thang. L.L. (2001). Generations in touch: Linking the old and young in a Tokyo neighborhood. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

*van Vliet, W. (2011). Intergenerational Cities: A Framework for Policies and Programs. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 9(4), 348-365.

WHO (2023). Connecting generations: Planning and implementing interventions for intergenerational contact. World Health Organization's Global Campaign to Combat Ageism. [ISBN: 9789240070264]. Available online.

Course Format

As an online course, class "discussions" are still very important but will take a different form than face-to-face meetings. We will count on you to review the material by the beginning of each week and share your views, via "Discussions," with the class. Hopefully, this will generate provocative discussion and debate about the content and issues at hand.

There is also a hands-on skill development aspect to this course. The final project requirement provides you with the opportunity to design your own intergenerational program, program resource, research project, or funding proposal. Two weeks are set aside for this work (weeks 7–8), but the expectation is that you will work on your projects throughout most of the semester and share your work with other students in the course during one of the final few weeks of class.

Please note that by week 4, you need to send me a 1–2 page paper on your project topic. This will give me a sense of your interest in intergenerational work and enable me to be more effective in helping you formulate your project and find relevant programs, resources, and specialists who can help you develop your project concept. I encourage all students to visit or call me at my office (we can set a time that works for you). Such in-person meetings will help us to further explore, discuss, grapple with, and exchange ideas related to your intergenerational project interests. (I also have an ever-evolving list of several course project opportunities which I'm happy to share with you.)

Just because we are a "virtual community" doesn't mean we cannot feel like a real community, nor does it mean that we can never meet face-to-face. I will occasionally invite everyone to interesting intergenerational events, programs, and conferences. I also encourage you to invite each other to such meetings in your neck of the woods. This should help us build our community of intergenerational practice.

This is a beginning. If you have an interest in furthering your training in intergenerational practice (wherever your skills, interests, and career aspirations lie), there are many additional learning opportunities, e.g., conferences, study tours, and individualized programs of independent (for-credit) study. As always, check with me if you have questions.



This refers to the set of questions asked as part of weekly lectures to stimulate class discussion. Students are also encouraged to send postings to the discussion that reflect their own questions, insights, and opinions about course material. Discussion postings should be submitted by Thursday by 11:59 p.m. EST of the week in which they are due.


These are applied exercises utilizing observations, reflection papers, interviews, case studies, program assessments, and projects. All assignments are to be turned in by Sunday by 11:59 p.m. EST of the week in which they are due. Approximately 1–2 pages.

Extra Credit

Students choosing to get involved in intergenerational programs as a service-learning experience can receive extra credit. The amount of credit will depend on the amount of service provided (number of hours), the nature of the service, and the extent to which a valued contribution is made to the organization(s) and individuals involved. (The maximum amount of extra credit will be having a grade bumped up one level, e.g., from a B+ to an A-.)

Deferred Grades

Additional instructions for nondegree conditional, nondegree regular, graduate degree, and graduate nondegree students: Your instructions are the same as above; however, you are required to have 75 percent of your lessons submitted.

Grading Policy

The following table is the grading criteria for the course.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Weight Week Due
Class Participation (in "Discussions") 10% Ongoing
Assignment #1 (Stereotype Observation)
Assignment #2 (What Do You Know About Aging?)
5% Weeks 1–2
Assignment #3 (Intergenerational Program Summary and Assessment) 5% Week 3
Assignment #4 (Aging and Technological Innovation) 5% Week 5
Assignment #5 (Thinking Intergenerationally) 5% Week 6
Assignment #6 (Identifying Problems Faced by Kinship Care Families) 5% Week 9
Assignment #7 (Intergenerational Playground Design) 5% Week 11
Final Project — Plan 5% Week 4
Final Project — Presentation 10% Weeks 14–15
Final Project — Paper 45% Week 15
TOTAL: 100% ---
Extra Credit Opportunity (e.g., involvement in a service learning type project) 5–10% Week 15

The following table is the grading scheme for the course.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 94%
A- < 94% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 83%
B- < 83% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 75%
C < 75% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Graduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on the Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the internet.

Getting Help With Canvas Courses

Canvas support is available 24/7 via chat or phone.

It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Try to include information such as the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

Support Services

As a student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the following resources for more information:

Accessibility Information


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Penn State Policies

Login Policy

Students are expected to log in regularly to keep up to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures, and the Code of Conduct).

Please read the academic integrity guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's academic integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity on the Bias Response page.

Privacy Policies

For information about Penn State's privacy statement and what it encompasses, please read their Web Privacy Statement. Visit Penn State's FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff page for information regarding its rules governing the privacy of student educational records.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD40, Recording of Classroom Activities and Note-Taking Services, addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under federal and state laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The University offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources page.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus' disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search to start planning ahead.