Thank You, Sergeant Curran, Our Pen-Pal

“Thank you.”  Those are the most fundamental words, next to “please”, that shape children’s character.  It is far more than manners; saying the words is one thing, doing the words is another.

My class is thanking Sergeant Curran, stationed in Afghanistan.  We’re doing it the good, old fashioned way; writing letters and drawing pictures.  We are Pen-Pals!

For children, expressing their thoughts in words and drawings is age appropriate and very genuine.  That is exactly what we did for Curran.  After we wrote and decorated our big letter, we drew him individual pictures.

Children need to learn that kindness and thanks matter.  They need to learn about the big, wide world.  They need to learn about other people.  Curran is our Pen-Pal in the big, wide world.  When he was a little boy, his favorite book was Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, by John Burningham.  We love that book!  Curran’s dad came to school and read-aloud this book to the children.

This made Curran ‘come alive’ for the children.  Suddenly he was one of us.  Then, when we went to our big book atlas to find Afghanistan, it mattered.  Because Curran was there.  He is our Pen-Pal.

Saying “thank you” by doing acts of goodness makes children feel good.  They care, and want to do something.  By doing they are learning the most important things in life.

We will bake up a storm, then have a bake sale at school.  We’ll take the money we raise, walk to CVS, and let the children buy whatever they think Curran will want or need.  That will be a great care package!


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Kindness, Learning About the World, patriotism, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Thank You, Sergeant Curran, Our Pen-Pal

  1. beetleypete says:

    Wonderful for the kids to have that pen-pal, and to learn about the importance of letter-writing at such a young age. I bet that Sgt Curran loves to get those letters too, to brighten his day when serving overseas.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. What a wonderful thing your whole class is doing.. So important to allow children to reach out and express themselves this way.. And understand the bigger picture of what is happening in our world.. And the brave people who put themselves on the front line in defence of all of us..

    Loved your pictures.. Thank you Jennie for sharing them.. I am sure that Curran will love his Care package when it arrives .. I know he will love those letters.. 🙂 ❤ Hugs

  3. This is such a very lovely post and thing you´re doing with the kids, Jennie! This Sgt. will be very happy when he receives his package and the lovely letters and pictures 😀 It´s wonderful how you teach these children to be thankful and how to express it. Have a beautiful weekend! 🙂

  4. What an awesome story Jennie. You illustrate also that caring lies in the true acts of kindness that go beyond the realm of thought.
    And, also how important those actions, be it great or large, can enhance someone’s life.

    Paulette Motzko

  5. Dan Antion says:

    What a wonderful learning experience for these lucky children. It’s so good of Sgt Curran, and his father, to work with them.

  6. This is such a wonderful activity, Jennie, that teaches so many lessons from beginning to end! I especially loved your mention of the Big Book Atlas! It’s so important that children have a better understanding of our world, and seeing where the Sergeant is stationed in relationship to where they are is so helpful. Thank you for leading your little ones in such a special experience. – Susan

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Susan. Finding Curran with the atlas, and figuring out how he travelled there, was a great beginning. It is such a good thing that we are doing!

  7. L. Marie says:

    I love that the children have a pen pal! That meant a lot to me when I was a kid. I also love that the children are doing something good for their pen pal.

  8. Darlene says:

    What a great idea. I am so pleased you are instilling the habit of writing thank you letters. Penpals are such a wonderful idea. I had a penpal in Australia and I kept in touch with her for a long time. People still love getting things in the mail, I know I do.

  9. Jennie, your post is so important. Children need to understand the world and the people in it. Your post is essential to what learning is all about, because if children, who become adults, don’t understand culture, history, humanitarian pursuits than nothing really germane as occurred. 🙂

  10. Reblogged this on Pen and Paper and commented:
    Jennie teaches far more than Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic! She teaches compassion, empathy, and the caring for those who sacrifice to protect others from danger. Learning to say thank you with humility and gratefulness is part of the greater good of humanity. Thank you, Jennie.

  11. Awesome that the kids have a pen pal. I have a 5-year-old pen pal and we exchange letters about once a month. He lives about 1 mile down the road and I see his family weekly, but that doesn’t matter at all. 🙂

  12. ~M says:

    Wonderful! When my husband was in Iraq, he had a penpal. We still have the drawings from the little boy. It was a wonderful experience and the family still stays in contact with us.

  13. sportsattitudes says:

    Jennie, this is great! I’m betting a lot of these children will remember this experience for a long, long time. To have Sgt. Curran’s father come in and read the book certainly created more depth and understanding for all. Nice to hear pen-pals still have a part to play in our world.

  14. This post is all wonderful on so many levels (and I ❤ Mr. Gumpy's Outing, too!)

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Marcia. So much more to do over the next month for Sgt. Curran- bake sale, raising $$$ to walk to CVS to buy him whatever the children think he needs, and also celebrating his birthday. I’m buying Mr. Gumpy’s Outing and having all the children sign it.

  15. Di says:

    This is beautiful! And with you, the newest little generation are in safe hands. Thank you 🌟🌹🌹

  16. reocochran says:

    These are such delightful ways to connect to the kids with their pen pal

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