What started as sending thank you notes to local healthcare workers amidst the Covid-19 pandemic has now expanded to a Pen Pal project due to the children’s interest and curiosity about how mail works.
With the use of technology in today’s world and the way we communicate so easily online, via texts and email, sometimes we forget that children don’t often help us to write letters, see postal workers delivering the mail, go with Mum or Dad to a post office or drop a letter in a mail box.
The educators at Lynbrook were solely focused on what the children wrote and sent to the healthcare workers until one child asked, ‘where does the mail go’? It was a lightbulb moment for the educators that the children didn’t know and were curious about how regular mail works.
Educators decided to reach out to other Story House services to see if there would be any interest in starting a Pen Pal program. What a brilliant idea to keep the community connected during a time of isolation and to help children understand the mail system.
The children at Lynbrook have sent the first letter to their friends at Noble Park and included drawings about Easter and included a photo of the rainbow they created as part of the Rainbow Trail.
The children learned how to send a letter by placing it into an envelope, sticking on a stamp, addressing it to the centre and dropping it in the mailbox which the educators made because the children are unable to go on excursion to a real mailbox at the moment.
They are waiting in anticipation for a returned letter – so exciting!
Depending on the interests of the children, educators are considering a permanent Pen Pal program with the potential of connecting with a centre overseas.
There are so many benefits to having a PenPal program in early childhood settings. It promotes communication and language skills including sharing ideas, expressing thoughts and opinions and sharing what’s important. Children learn to understand the world and connect with other communities which may do things differently to them. And, it supports personal, social and emotional development where children work together as a group to achieve a common goal.