Our little preschool is part of a bigger community of people and I am always looking for ways to have the children integrate with others in the community.
When I visited Virginia Tech I was very inspired by their Intergenerational Program. The children worked alongside the program for the elderly (whose center was in the same building) several times a week. Small groups got together and worked on projects – when I visited they were working on an ongoing project about photography. The children and adults benefited so much from this experience, and their exploration really deepened as a result.
I was inspired!
Throughout the last year I have been trying many different ways in which to allow the children to really integrate into the community.
Recently we have started little mail boxes for the children. They love writing messages to each other and collecting their mail at the end of the day.
I decided it would be good to develop this further, and to start sending our mail into the wider community.
Each week we have chosen a small group of people from our community. the children know these people well. We have then worked to create a package of letters, cards and pictures for these people, which we then deliver on Friday. It is such fun and the children ask me now, when the arrive on Mondays, who we will be writing for this week.
I have found it is giving the children a meaningful purpose to their drawing and writing, which sometimes I feel is very appropriate. I love t give the children the chance to explore materials just for exploration sake, but it is nice to also give more purpose.
So far we have used crayons, watercolor pencils, watercolor paints and oil pastels. We have made letters, postcards, gifts and pictures, and the children are really motivated to develop their literacy skills and try to write the messages independently!