Pen-Pal Explosion

Our Pen-Pal Wall

Back in April, when school was celebrating children around the world, it struck me that reaching out to other children would be a wonderful thing to do.  We could write letters, send cards, get to know each other.  We could become Pen-Pals.

I emailed fellow preschool teachers – Beth in Michigan I didn’t have my glasses on….  and Ritu in Kent, U.K. But I Smile Anyway…

My goodness, they were as excited as I was.  The children were, too.  We wrote cards with pictures and words, straight from the heart.  It was days of work, swinging from fun to serious.  Children wanted to make beautiful pictures, and they wanted to write words to other children.  This was a big deal.  Writing is hard for preschoolers, yet wanting something makes the hard much easier.

Michigan is 720 miles away.  Beth’s students replied with a flood of cards and Eric Carle cut-outs.  We were on our way with Pen-Pals!  Here is my post on Beth’s cards:

Pen-Pal Cards Arrived!

Of course we wrote a giant thank you letter.

Giving is receiving and giving again.  It’s a wonderful cycle.  The detail in the drawing is incredible.  Children are saying beautiful things in their own way.

Kent in the UK is 3,311 miles away, and it’s on the other side of the ocean.  We pulled our Big Book Atlas to find England.  When we mailed our cards, it was exciting, because we had Pen-Pals in another country.  Their cards to us arrived, and children were thrilled!

We immediately wrote a think you letter to the children, our new Pen-Pals.

Note the detailed illustrations, yet another validation of the love and importance of these Pen-Pals.  Their drawings are screaming words from the heart.  Really.

Beth’s class got our thank you letter and they replied!

Times may have changed, but children have not.  Making friends is universal, and Pen-Pals have been around a long time.  I’m so glad my students became Pen-Pals with children in Michigan and the U.K.


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, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, Inspiration, Learning About the World, literacy, preschool, Teaching young children, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Pen-Pal Explosion

  1. This is so cool and heartwarming!

  2. beth says:

    yay! so happy your kids have enjoyed this as much as ours!

  3. Yes! This is awesome. My heart is singing after reading this post. ❤

  4. For me, this seemingly simple comment is a profound statement: “Times may have changed, but children have not.” It represents all the hope children carry for the future–but only if adults honor and nuture it and don’t teach them how to hate.

  5. Ritu says:

    We have all loved this, and I can’t wait for the reply to arrive so I can show the children! ❤

  6. Dan Antion says:

    What a wonderful experience and a great way to learn about others.

  7. Oh, this gave me goosebumps!! The cards are beautiful.

  8. Darlene says:

    This was such a wonderful idea. The kids will always remember having pen pals from another state and another country.

    • Jennie says:

      I think they will remember sending cards and writing giant thank you letters. That in itself will be a good memory. Thank you, Darlene. 😀

  9. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie! This post is simply beautiful! Thank you so much!

  10. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Please enjoy this wonderful post from the excellent teacher, Jennie!

  11. Amazing, Jenny. Heartwarming for sure.

  12. Wonderful circles of love! 💞 xoxoxo

  13. quiall says:

    The children have researched the lands of the world now they are learning about the people firsthand. That is brilliant!

  14. How exciting… I too remember at school starting a pen pal… One in the USA… I would look eagerly for letters to arrive.. A pity we have to grow up and… ❤

  15. petespringerauthor says:

    This post was fun for me because I follow Beth and Ritu. I remember how abuzz my students were when their pen pals wrote to them. For many, it was the first time they had received a letter in the mail.

    • Jennie says:

      I knew you would like this, especially knowing Ritu and Beth. Sometimes I wish I taught older students like you did, because the writing piece (like pen pals) and reading is at a peak. I can imagine the thrill your students felt when they received a real letter.

  16. beetleypete says:

    Love to see that the Pen-Pal tradition is alive and well in your class, Jennie.
    I feel sure that some early settlers went from Kent to your state, so the connection continues.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      I will keep this tradition alive, Pete. Times may have changed, but children have not. Yes, I think there must have been early settlers here from Kent. We have looked at our Big Book Atlas many times to find Kent.
      Pretty cool, and the connection continues!

  17. CarolCooks2 says:

    This is beautiful Jenny I remember how excited I was to receive a letter from my pen pal I can just imagine the childrens excitement 🙂 x

  18. Ally Bean says:

    Cute, cute. So much fun and so great for a teaching tool. You’re not alone in this world.

  19. So much fun, Jennie. I love the artwork! Great enthusiasm. 🙂

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I have always thought of my blogging friends as my adult pen pals! I first had a real one in grade school, and I love having a whole host of them again. Good habit to start young in your classroom.

  21. bosssybabe says:

    Aw how fun!! I still remember some of my old art stuff from this period in my life, I wish my mom saved some! I am starting a “box of memories” for Charlotte – basically a file for each year of her school life to keep memorable art/writings, etc for her to sift through when she grows up! I’m excited! Thanks for sharing – how lovely for the kids! 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      This was so much fun! I’m glad you’re starting a ‘save box’ for Charlotte. I still have mine from my children. It was great fun to go through everything with their children, showing them what their mom and dad had made.

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