One morning last week, shortly after Miss Shipley had taken the register, a letter arrived in Nursery. Miss Shipley was thrilled because she loves getting letters, but in fact the letter wasn’t for her. It was addressed to the children in Flamingo Group, so only they were allowed to open it. Apparently, the Parrot and Turtle groups also received letters at the same time, and I’ve heard that the letters all looked rather similar. It was all terribly mysterious and exciting.
It’s that time of year, of course, when people everywhere are sending cards and letters to friends they haven’t seen for years and probably wouldn’t recognise if they met them in the street. Lots of children are compiling their Christmas lists and posting them off to Santa Claus. The post boxes on every street are crammed to overflowing.
That still doesn’t explain who would be writing to the Nursery children at this time. Could it be Mr Yates or Mrs Phillips, perhaps? We know they like writing letters. But no…the exciting letter was from Santa himself! Leyah and Arniya, who opened the letter on behalf of their fellow Flamingos, quickly worked this out from some pictures Santa had cleverly included as clues on his letter.
Things like this do not happen every day. The children’s eyes lit up when they realised that Santa had actually noticed them and had chosen to send them a letter. How special was that! And, of course, they immediately decided what they must do. They had to get out their pencils and write back to Santa.
Children in Nursery are very much at the beginning of their writing journey, so to construct a letter is a tall order for them. The teachers encouraged them to think very carefully about the sounds they could hear in the words. Some children sensibly asked to have a look at the letter shape before putting pen to paper. Farris, Jack and Angela all knew that please is the most important word to use when writing a list of what you would like for Christmas. Incidentally, when Miss Shipley read the letters, she took the opportunity to do some market research, and it would seem that the most popular gift in Solihull this year is a unicorn. Here’s hoping they don’t run out of stock in John Lewis so people have to resort to sticking an ice cream cone on a donkey instead!
With the letters written, it was time to consider how they would actually get to Santa at the North Pole. Some of the children said that, at the end of the school drive, they had seen a red box with an important label and suggested the letter should be posted in there. This gave Miss Shipley an idea, and she showed the children a film about a day in the life of a postman, as well as all the processes through which a letter goes before it reaches its final destination. Miss Shipley also fetched out her copy of The Jolly Postman to share with the children. Sahib and Tejasv were delighted when she said they could take the letters and cards out of the envelopes contained within the book.
Letters can be many shapes and sizes, although the vast majority are rectangular and, when you start to think about parcels, you open up a whole new world of learning about 3D shapes. The children were so interested that Miss Shipley created a post office for them to play with in the classroom. It came complete with a till, envelopes, letters, parcels, stamps and a postbag. Of course, you can’t have a post office without someone to run it, but luckily Sohan turned out to be a first rate office clerk, accepting a parcel from Catherine to post to her friend. The parcel worked its way through the labyrinthine workings of the Eversfield postal system before finally ending up with postwoman Maya, whose responsibility it was to deliver the parcel to Angela. Doing this enabled the children to realise this is why most houses have a number, to help the people in the post office and, when a set of numbered doors miraculously appeared in the classroom, they insisted on making sure that the numbers on the envelopes corresponded to those on the doors.
Being good at Maths is definitely part of the skill set for anyone hoping to work in a post office. Consequently, the children were keen to practise counting the correct number of stamps to match the number on the envelope. Sometimes it can be hard to stop at the required number, but Miss Shipley was particularly impressed at how Muning and Sahib coped with the challenge. They even worked out when they had to add one more stamp to get to the right number.
As you read this blog post, the letters have been parcelled up and are winging their way towards the North Pole. Now it’s just a question of waiting, and remembering to be very good, to see what Santa brings.