For the past couple months, the Blue Room has been exploring the mail – sparked by an interest in setting up a post office in their dramatic play area. The whole school has gotten involved, all thanks to the Blue Room Post Service.
MAKING A PLAN
The Blue Room began by brainstorming what they would need in their dramatic play post office. The children take turns playing with the keyboards,cash registers, phones, headsets, and writing supplies.
Ideas from the children:
-Boxes, different sizes
-Mail truck (front and back)
One family ordered a real mailbox to use at school! This mailbox was labeled by the children and is used as the school’s CENTRAL MAILBOX. Other classrooms and people can place mail inside the box and the Blue Room children collect, sort, and deliver the mail each day.
The post office has been a rich opportunity for the Blue Room to explore reading and writing.
Teacher: How do we start the letter?
Student: With a greeting. “Dear Mailbox,”
Teacher: How do we finish the letter?
Student: Write your name
Student: You put a ‘P’, then a dot, then an ‘S’, then a dot!
Children chose who they wrote their letters to. Some wrote them to their friends, or family and some even wrote them to their stuffed animals. Children have been very excited and invested in their writing.
The children are excited to write letters to each other and send them through the mail system. We even have children writing letters at home to send to each other! This is a really nice way for the children to build each other up and make each other feel good!
WALK TO THE MAILBOX
As part of our exploration, the class took a class walk to the mailbox. The children helped mail some of the teacher’s letters, and even got to see a mail truck in action!
MAKING A MAILBOX
Inspired by the mail box they saw on their walk, in the Art Studio, the Blue Room kids began building their own mailbox. The first course of order was to determine how the curved side pieces would be attached, and then make decisions on the central handle and locking mechanism. The students decide that taping on the side arches would be the best idea.
“That will make it so it won’t fall apart. The sides should be strong right? People will be opening it up all day long.”
Maybe we should make a sign that says, ‘no tissues, no wet mittens, no trash’. And one that says ‘No junk mail’.
VISIT FROM LAURA
The post worker who delivers mail to Preschool of the Arts came to see visit the Blue Room, answer questions, and show us her mail truck. The children were especially interested in how fast the truck could drive. Laura let the children climb inside the back of the truck, and taught us what the red flag on our mailbox is for.
FIELD TRIP TO THE POST OFFICE
The children were so excited to finally see behind the scenes and get some of their questions answered.
At the beginning of our tour, Becky helped us mail our first letter to Japan! She showed the children how the mail must be weighed and stamped and then put into a certain bin to be sorted.
From the beginning of our conversations, the children have been interested to know and see how the conveyor belt works. They were thrilled to finally see it!
I want to stay here all day!
I wish Bob (the tour guide) were my dad; he knows so much about the post office!
The highlight of the trip for most of the children was seeing the machines in action. We also were able to climb inside the back of a mail semi. We learned that this post office processes 2.5 million pieces of mail everyday!
We wrote a thank you letter to Bob from the post office. We wrote the address on the envelope and got a stamp from the office.
He will love the note because we sent it to him.
He’s gonna say ‘The Blue Room sent me this note because I did such a good job of giving them a tour of my post office’.
BLUE ROOM POSTAL SERVICE
The PSA Post Office has been a huge hit! The children have been thrilled with the mail we have gotten from all over the state and country. Now that the large blue mail box is complete, we even have room for packages. At group time we decided that we should come up with a plan for the mail box. We decided that there were three jobs to be done. PICK UP, SORTING, and DELIVERY. The Blue Room agreed that they should be the only ones to open the bottom of the mailbox.
When the mail is picked up, the mailbox is filled with letters, postcards and packages. This brings a lot of excitement for the children who work to pick up the mail. The team works together to decide who will pull the wagon, who will open the mailbox and who will take the mail out.
If you don’t pick up the mail for a long time it will get overflowed. If it gets overflowed, the mail will leak out and then it don’t go to the right place because the wind will blow it away.
Once the mail has been picked up, the sorting team works to read the names on the envelopes and puts them into the corresponding mail tubes. If a classroom has a lot of mail, they put a rubber band around the mail to keep it together.
So the mail doesn’t get mixed up and go to the wrong person. It’s exciting when the mail gets delivered.
Sometimes the packages are for us and I like seeing the packages. I also really like delivering mail because you get to do so much fun stuff. And maybe you will get mail or maybe you will get a package.
I like delivering mail because it makes people happy. Everyone always smiles and everyone ALWAYS says thank you!
As we get letters from different cities and different states, the children take turn highlighting cities on a map of Wisconsin and states on a map of the united states.
Post cards sparked a particular interest with the children.
Teacher: We have received so many post cards! What do you notice about these post cards?
Student: Postcards don’t have envelopes.
Student: The writing is on the back.
Student: Anything can be on the front!
Student: It’s not the same paper as a letter.
In the Art Studio, the Blue Room children worked on creating postcards to be sent to someone special. They looked at a variety of postcards for inspiration and discussed the elements that were important to have – such as, the lines on the back, a place for a stamp, a beautiful image, and paper that was stiff.
It was interesting how so many of the children brought up the topic of creating real postcards, and looked upon their work with wonder when thinking about the postcards going through the mail delivery process. Quite a few of the children talked about how beautiful the postcards should be, and they mentioned that postcards generally convey “happy messages” – very astute!
A conversation in the Blue Room led to this idea: Junk mail is like commercials for your mail. It is mail that you don’t want. They brought in junk mail from home for show and tell.
Why is this junk mail?
Student: It is stuff my mom and dad have had for a long time that they were going to throw away.
Student: My mom doesn’t want it.
Student: I actually want to read it. Maybe it isn’t junk mail.
Student: My dad almost threw it away. He doesn’t want to buy this stuff.
What can we do with junk mail?
-Tear it up and put it in the garbage
-Throw it away
-Make it into a ball for a cat toy
In the Art Studio, the Blue Room children used photo references to create stamps that to be used in their post office. First, we examined actual stamps and determined what elements needed to be included in the designs, then the children used sharpie marker and watercolor paint to complete their stamps.
The children decided that the shape of the stamp (and the drawn image) needed to be determined by the shape of the initial outline. Also, the children felt the ridges along the outsides of the stamps were very important.
One student observed that the words and numbers within the real stamps were sometimes on the sides of the pictures and not always in the same direction. “I’m going to write these here ‘cause stamps can do that … and I don’t really have room under the piano.”
PEN PALS IN JAPAN
The Blue Room became “pen pals” with a class from Kokura, Japan. They sent us large letters with drawings and a photograph of their class.
DRAWING OUR MAILBOXES
In the Art Studio, the Blue Room children worked on creating observational drawings of their home mailboxes. The intention was to allow the children the time to discuss their mailboxes and to discern the shapes and forms and details that they noticed. After drawing, the children added color using watercolor paint.