And none will hear the postman’s knock/Without a quickening of the heart. For who can bear to feel himself forgotten? ~W.H. Auden
The US Postal Service may have just raised the cost of a stamp to 49 cents, but you can still send a letter through the Pre-K Valentine’s Post Office for a mere five pennies. During the first two weeks of February each year, the Pre-K class provides a much-loved service to the All Saints community, the Valentine’s Post Office (VPO). Students, teachers and parents send notes to one another that are sorted and hand-delivered by the Pre-K students. Just like the US Postal Service, only letters with stamps will be delivered; these special, student-designed works of art can be purchased at the front desk in both buildings. Aside from the gift of sending and receiving a Valentine’s card, you are helping nurture the gifts of cooperation and collaboration, hard work and accountability, which are all integral to the running of the Pre K post office.
“I love seeing the little postal workers coming to deliver the mail,” said Ms. Loving. “It builds community because students want to send and receive letters so they write and write. It encourages them to seek out other members of the community in anticipation of receiving a letter back.”
To make the VPO run, students turn their Dramatic Play Center into a working post office. The students build two mailboxes for receiving mail – one located in the hallway at the St. Nicholas Center and the other in the Library at 707. Mailbags, designed by the students and made out of paper bags, are used to transport the mail between the two buildings. Pre-K students maintain a receptacle for sorting the mail for distribution, labeled with each classroom and administrative office, and to advertise their service, students design and create signs to be hung around the school buildings. Of course the VPO is not ready to open until the stamps are created and sold. First Grader Molly remembers her experience with running the VPO when she was a Pre-K student. “I liked making the stamps and getting letters with my stamps on them.” she said. Fourth Grader Lucy said she loves that she “can talk to anyone at any time in our school” through the VPO. Her classmate, Lucca, agrees.” I love that you can deliver as much mail as you want to everyone you want!”
Even teachers love the VPO! “One of my best experiences from the pre-k post office was getting a handwritten letter from a middle school student just saying how much she appreciated me,” said Ms. Therres. “I also love the arts connections with the student-designed stamp, sometimes I buy stamps just so I have them to keep!”
Like every “milestone project” at All Saints, the VPO may be celebratory and enjoyable for the community, but its real purpose is to teach important academic skills. “The Valentine’s Post Office is one the highlights of the Pre-K school year,” said Pre-K teacher, Ms. Allison. It is rewarding to see our four and five year olds develop important skills, such as community service, social interaction, responsibility, hard work, cooperation and empathy, which they will use throughout their lifetimes. It also gives me great pleasure to hear from parents about how much they have enjoyed experiencing the VPO with their children.”
Like many projects at All Saints, building connections in the community is a key component of the experience. Ms. Ferman comments that she thinks the VPO teaches that “even the youngest students can be a part of the culture of service at All Saints.”
All of the money raised through the sale of stamps is donated to Companion Animal Placement, a local rescue organization. Last year students donated $189.00.
Don’t miss this chance to make your child’s day by sending a letter. You can acknowledge your child’s effort to overcome a current challenge, express your appreciation for his/her contributions to the household, simply recall a fond family memory, or just offer your best wishes for the day. Perhaps you might consider writing a note to your child’s former teacher letting her know what a difference s/he made in your child’s life. However you choose to participate, you won’t want to miss the chance to be a part of this exciting experience at All Saints. Buy your stamps today and get out your pen and start writing! If you’re really lucky, you might just receive a lovely hand-written note back.
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