When the children returned to school after the long holiday break, they were excited to find a brand new “mail” area in the classroom. Each child has their own mailbox hanging up, with their picture, name, and a nature icon next to their name. They spent a great deal of time writing letters, making cards and crafts, and delivering them to their friends in the classroom. I didn’t take a direct picture of the mailboxes, because I try to keep children’s names off of the blog:)
While there was still a great deal of interest in the mail area, I thought that maybe they would want to dive deeper into this topic. This post is a great example of following the children’s lead with guidance from the teacher. I have talked briefly about the mail in the past, but in three years of my school being opened we have never “studied” the mail system. When you follow children’s interests the possibilities are endless. Their enthusiasm for a topic, along with the help and scaffolding from the teacher is a great balance. This is the perfect example of an emergent curriculum! I could never had know in Sept. that the “mailboxes” would be such a hit in January! And if I had been too focused on winter themes such as “winter and snow” I would have missed this great opportunity!
I asked the children if they knew how the mail traveled to different people’s houses? We had a great discussion about how the mail travels to different places, and decided it would be fun to write a letter to someone in our family. The children made cards for their parents or a sibling, decorated them, and Ms. Brittany and I dictated their words to include in the letters.
We read a great deal of books about the mail throughout the month of January. Here is a sampling of some of the books we read about the mail:
We started our study reading “Delivering Your Mail,” which was a basic story about mail carriers and all of the houses and weather that they bring our mail to in the US.
“Dear Annie” was a fiction book about a granddaughter and her grandfather exchanging mail for her whole childhood. Such a sweet story!
“The Post Office” was an informative book about our mail system.
“Dear Mr. Blueberry” was one of my favorite mail books. The little girl in the story writes letters back and forth with her teacher, and she tells him that their is a whale living in her fish pond in her backyard. Great imaginative story!
Once our letters were ready for our families we put them in the mailbox outside. They also learned that the red flag needs to be up for the mailman to know to get the new mail!
Here are some very sweet pictures of each child reaching really, really high to put their letter in the mailbox!
In many of the letters to our family we asked them to write us back, and boy they did!!
I put this documentation display together for the children as our return letters began to arrive. We read all of the letters out loud, looked closely at their envelopes back to us, and studied our “mail map.” I printed out a basic map of our area and then used yarn to demonstrate where all of the letters were coming from. The green thumb tacks represented where the letters were mailed and the red thumb tack represented our school!
Today we took all of our “mail” knowledge and headed over to the local post office to see first hand how the mail is sorted and delivered. That post will be coming soon!
Happy Letter Writing!! Love, Crozet PlaySchool