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.
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:)