“To write is human, to get mail, Divine!”
~ Susan Lendroth
Who doesn’t love the joy of receiving a handwritten card in the mail? What’s even better is a handwritten card made by a child. I just love this time of year, when precious little notes begin to arrive at the hands of Pre-K students who are absolutely delighted that their “business” is in full swing and is making people happy.
The Valentine’s Day Post Office is a treasured tradition at All Saints. "When I see my wonderful Pre-K students taking on the responsibility of helping to improve the life of the school for these two weeks in February, it fills me with an abundance of pride,” said Ms. Allison, Pre-K teacher and founder of the Post Office. “I never underestimate their abilities."
For the two weeks in February leading up to Valentine’s Day, 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, 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.
Students remember the tradition long after the days of delivering mail. They recall the joy of making paintings that are turned into stamps that are sold for five cents, the proceeds for which are donated to local animal rescue efforts. Sixth Grader Lucy fondly remembers her experience with the Pre-K Post Office seven years ago. "It's a valued tradition that the Pre-K students take part in each year,” Lucy explained. “When I participated in it, I learned about running an organized business." Jack, currently in Grade 3, remembers the joy of working on stamp design. "I think it is fun to make the stamps because you get to paint,” he said. “You can try to figure out which stamp is the one you made." Of course Ms. Therres loves this artistic aspect of the program. “Something I love about the Pre-K Post Office is that students get to see a real-life application or art,” she said. “They create beautiful paintings which are then transferred into a stamp format, which is used on the mail sent throughout the school!”
“Seeing the kids working the Post Office is like seeing them grow up,” said Second Grade teacher Ronnie Loving. I feel like in Nursery they are still little ones and the responsibility and pride they take on with running the Post Office shows them coming into their own as ‘bigger’ kids.” And students seem to agree with her. Third Grader Penny said "I like the Pre-K Valentine’s Post Office because it is fun and you can do what your parents do and send letters.” Her classmate, Bella, agreed with her. "I think the idea is unique because instead of grownups delivering the letters, it's the Pre-K students."
To make the Post Office run, students turn their Dramatic Play Center into a working post office. Students also create and design two mailboxes out of recycled materials 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.
This year the student-created mailboxes took on a little “bling” as part of our STEM initiative as well. With the help of Technology Integrator Jeff Cohen (“Mr. Jeff”), students used a paper circuit to create a red light in the middle of a Valentine’s heart that lights up when pressed. Students of all ages can be seen pressing the heart to see the red light.
Like every “milestone project” at All Saints, the Valentine’s Post Office may be celebratory and enjoyable for the community, but its real purpose is to teach important skills such as community service, social interaction, responsibility, hard work, cooperation and empathy, which they will use throughout their lifetimes.
Central to this project, as for so many at All Saints, building connections and service to the community is a key component of the experience. "You give animals shelter by buying stamps,” explained Kindergarten student, Jack. "We're giving animals homes,” agreed Sydney, also in Kindergarten.
All of the money raised through the sale of stamps is donated to Companion Animal Placement, a local rescue organization. Last year students donated $250.00.
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/him 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.
Perhaps Kindergarten student Sarah summed up the value of the Pre-K Valentine’s Post Office best: "I love the post office because you get to show your friends how much you love them!" she said.