TODDLERS have practised their German vocabulary while interacting with elderly care home residents in Swindon.

The local Lingotots Swindon group brought babies and toddlers to visit residents at the Cheriton Care Home in Old Town to learn German words through songs and games.

Sheila Bennett, who is 84, said: “It’s been very nice, it’s like a breath of fresh air when the children come in. It’s very enjoyable and they are all so well behaved as well.”

Manager Mary Cranfield said: “We have seen a big difference with the residents, you can clearly see them being more active and sociable.

“One gentleman has become more mobile and was getting out of his chair and interacting with the children.

“When they have been before one of them said it brought her back to being a teacher.

“It’s about making people’s lives better and to establish some links with the local community.”

Mum Leanne Woodman took her two youngsters along, Martha-Mary, who was two and a half and walked home with an Easter egg from a raffle, and her 15-week old brother William.

Leanne said: “I think it’s a really good idea, and I want them to learn another language early on.

“I lived in Germany when I was a child but just didn’t speak enough when I came back.”

Katja Badenski, who runs the Lingotot franchise in Swindon and Wiltshire, is half German but grew up in Swindon.

She added: “There are so many toddler sessions out there, but you get such a lovely reaction from the elderly, it really makes their day having the little ones come in and the kids have fun either way.

“You see the joy, it makes my day when I go home.”

The early intervention could also boost the low number of children learning foreign languages, which fell to its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium, with German and French falling the most.

Katja added: “Not enough people are selecting languages as a subject, but we’re hoping through the way we teach it, using songs and games, people will want to carry on learning languages.”