What is a pen pal class?
The pen pal concept seems to be a very outdated one however there are so many benefits that it would be great to see children taking this up again. A pen pal class is where one class would sit and compose letters to another class somewhere else in the country or even in the world. It can be brought in to the 21st century with not just letters being written but potentially also emails, photos being shared and even skype calls. It is important to maintain confidentiality and to keep children safe at all times, so you must ensure that any pen pal class meet safeguarding needs and information is carefully shared. You may be thinking how can young children who cant read and write create pen pals however this is why a pen pal class is picked. Practitioners can read the letters to the children, and the children can sit in small groups and talk together and help the practitioner compose their letter.
What are the benefits to having a pen pal class?
There are so many benefits especially if a variety of communication methods are used and if children sit together as a group to write the letters. Some of the benefits include…
- Promotes communication and language skills – including sharing ideas, expressing thoughts and opinions, sharing whats important, discussing what is important in their immediate village/town/city
- Promote early mark making – you may like to get the children involved in writing the letters, they could draw pictures, plan what they would like to talk about in the letter etc…
- Supports understanding the world – This is particularly true if a pen pal class from a totally different area is chosen. Then children can talk to one another about language, culture, celebrations, daily life, routine, location, etc….
- Supports personal, social and emotional development – Children working together as a group to achieve one goal of a letter is brilliant for supporting PSED, also discovering more about what makes them, their school, their families and their local area unique is so important for self identity.
- Promotes technology – This can only happen if a variety of communication methods are used such as letter, email and skype.
If you would be interested in gaining a pen pal class, why not leave a comment and see if anyone gets in touch with you!