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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Preschoolers love hearing..."You've Got Mail!"

I recently saw the cutest picture of a mailbox purchased and displayed on the Tired, Need Sleep blog. This reminded me of my own little mailbox that I have had for over 20 years (just like my laminator) and always use in every classroom that I teach in.

It isn't a cute little red mailbox like Tired, Need Sleep posted but it is a really cool red, pocket quilt made and given to me by one of my assistant teachers back in 1990.

When I am teaching, I like to do a week on The Post Office in my classroom and I hang the quilt down low so the children can reach it. I also place it near the writing center. I then place a name tag on each pocket, including my own name, so the children can give each other mail.

I often put little notes in the pockets too and I get tons of mail on a daily basis. Everything from little scraps of paper, little cutouts, little notes, and little pictures with hearts:) 

I usually hang the quilt up close to February and leave it up through Valentine's day. Some years we deliver our Valentine cards to the pockets and other years I let the children make Valentine bags instead. And when the month is over, I can easily fold it up and put it away. This keeps the novelty from wearing off.

What can children learn?

Name recognition: One of the greatest learning experiences is name recognition. Children are learning to recognize their own name as well as the names of their classmates.

Name writing: The children will often go over to the name tags and then back to the table working diligently to write each other's name on their notes or envelopes. The children want to draw and write so they can put something in a pocket.

Motor Skills: The children also love to fold their notes. They have to if they want them to fit in those pockets. Keep in mind, I find many little notes on the floor throughout the day and try to help sort it out, but most of the time it was the writer who just enjoyed the experience and the receiver doesn't always know when the note never made it to their pocket.

Social/Emotional: Getting mail can give a big boost to one's self-esteem and feelings of acceptance in the classroom. If I see someone is lacking in mail, I encourage the children to write them a note and the children love to do it. They like making their friends feel good and they love giving and getting mail.

For Younger Children
You could put pictures along with their name on each pocket so they will be able to identify their own pocket. The youngest child loves stuffing things in pockets:)


The Activity Mom said...

Great idea! Love it.

Scott Wiley said...

I've seen several different ideas for mailboxes but never a pocket quilt. What a wonderful idea!

Miller Moments said...

I do something similar and use little mailboxes that I picked up at Target for a $1 each. Kids love to get mail, send mail, create mail. It's a great learning activity with so many great end results.

April said...

So cute! I remember sending/getting mail when I was in school. So much fun!

jenny said...

I love the quilt. I've been trying to think of ways to have a mail system in our writing corner permanently that doesn't take up too much room, and something like this would be perfect :)

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

The quilt definitely lends itself to smaller classrooms since it can hang on the wall and not stick out:)

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

This is such a great idea, and so very practical. Plus, it is stunning! **applause**

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Thank you Valerie:)

Michelle said...

I was just thinking (after reading the Tired, Need Sleep blog) that I needed to add a mailbox to our set up here. Not sure where to go, I think that your quilt would lend itself very nicely to our home set up. I can't wait to go to the fabric store this weekend!! Thanks for the wealth of information you provide!! It means a lot to me to know I have a place to jump to to get some support and ideas!!!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

HI Michelle,
Have fun picking out cute fabric:) Post a picture on your blog when you are done so I can see what you came up with!

Teacher Tom said...

You're so right. Children love making their friends feel good. It's one of the most life affirming things about teaching this age.

Elise said...

Your mailbox quilt is such a unique and novel idea. I imagine all of the children would have loved sending and receiving mail.

We have had a very basic sort of system in place for my three year old daughter, but I really like the idea of everyone in our family having some sort of mailbox so that we can all exchange letters, pictures etc with each other.

I did see Nicole's gorgeous mailbox on her blog and thought it was so sweet. If I saw sdomething like that in the shops I would snap it up too.

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

Whenever I have taught preschoolers they have absolutely adored postbox play. The Jolly Postman books are an excellent resource to use when introducing the whole concept of receiving mail.

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

This is such a sweet idea and what a beautiful way to do it! I love this!

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