Sunday, September 22, 2013

Preschool Goes Postal...

For the past two weeks my classroom has explored one of the oldest institutions in our country, The Unites State Postal Service.  We learned about stamps, letters, envelopes, and postcards. We turned our dramatic play area into the Preschool Post Office. We were able to get USPS boxes, envelopes and mailing labels donated to us from our local post office.

The children had lots of fun, packing boxes and mailing them to friends across the room. I think they got the most enjoyment out of stuffing envelopes! Which is  a great fine motor activity that also strengthens hand-eye coordination.
 For art activities we decorated our own stamp with the number 44 on them. We learned that each stamp costs 44 cents.  (number recognition/pre-math). I showed then children numerous pictures of stamps from the past and they were amazed at some of the pictures that have donned the faces of postal stamps in years past. I must admit, so was I. We've had some really cool stamps over the years.

We also learned about postcards. My co-teacher brought in postcards for each of the students and we learned that we didn't need an envelope to mail a postcard. We decided to make our own post cards, using a postcard template that we glued to a sturdy piece of cardboard. The children then decorated the front of the postcard with magazine cut outs from Ranger Rick and other kids wildlife magazines. The children had fun designing their own post cards while strengthening their cutting skills and other fine motor skills. They also were encouraged to write messages on their postcards and most of the children made wonderful squiggly lines (pre-writing) and also practiced writing their name. Fun and learning all together.

For a an open-ended process art activity we painted with bubble wrap. I cut the bubble wrap into squares and then taped the edges to make a bubble wrap glove. It was neat to see where the children took this activity. Some of the children didn't use the bubble wrap to pant, they simple popped the bubble wrap and then used their hands to paint. Others had fun seeing the texture and prints that the bubble wrap glove left behind. Colors were mixed and imaginations were free. It was really great sensory/art activity.

 One of my favorite activities that we did this week is one that will stick with me forever. In our weekly newsletter, we asked parents and grandparents to write letters to their child and send it to the school. My co-teacher and I were amazed at the amount of letters the children received. We used an old metal mailbox as our preschool mailbox and after rest time everyday the children would check to see if the red flag was up. If it was, that meant that some lucky preschoolers had received mail. During our afternoon snack time we read the letters to the children. (Well, we attempted to read them it was a little difficult through the heartwarming tears the letters brought to our eyes)

After we read the letters we taped them on a bulletin board for the children to look at through the week.

I think what I enjoyed most about this activity was that the parents whom I didn't think think would send letters, actually did. (Lesson in humility for me) Those letters were the most heartwarming and special because it reminded us the special bond between parent and child. And the pride that each child exuded as we read THEIR letter from THEIR loved one was so special that it reminded me of the importance of a handwritten letter and that letter writing is a lost art. It also reminded me of how special it is to see familiar handwriting on a piece of paper. In an age of email and texting, I wonder how many children would actually recognize the handwriting of a loved one? I know one of the strongest memories I have of my mother is her handwriting. She had the most beautiful penmanship. I remember finding a letter from her shortly after she passed and I will never forget the feeling that flowed through me. I still have that letter safely put away and I pull it out sometimes when I'm missing her. Can you recognize your mother's handwriting? Can your child recognize yours? Hmmm!

Lesson Learned: The importance and impact of handwritten letters. 

*Also, The US Postal Service was established on July 26, 1775 by Congress. Benjamin Franklin was made the first Postmaster General.  

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