It is always exciting to take on a new topic and for me, the Post Office was all-new this year.
I always try to begin each new topic with a book and use it as inspiration for ideas and activities for the month. For this months topic, I have taken my inspiration from the, very popular, ‘The Jolly Postman’ book.
It’s a fantastic book filled with the adventures of a Postman as he travels around delivering his post. With each delivery, the book contains a different item of post including letters, invitations, postcards, books etc which all come out of their envelopes and can be read to the children. There is so much in this book! It is a very child-friendly and interactive way to introduce children to different forms of writing.
Given that I am doing the Post Office for the month of December I also got a copy of ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’ which follows the same idea as the original. Definitely another lovely book but certainly not one I will be attempting to get through, in detail, while also doing the original book.
An Post has a fantastic bank of resources which are really helpful for teachers. They have activities, games, resources and videos which are ideal to use during the topic. This video is particularly useful when introducing the topic as it shows the journey of a letter and the workings of the postal system.
For my four play stations for this topic, I have construction, writing, small world and roleplay. Some of these activities will remain the same for the topics while others will change slightly.
Construction: After discussing all the different vehicles that can be involved with delivering our post the children have been set the task of creating a postal vehicle of their choice from mobilo. Depending on how the children engage with this (mobilo is a current favourite in my room but this could change!) it may remain the same but could change to lego, blocks, a play-doh station or maybe even stickle bricks! Their creations at this station can be integrated with the other play stations within an Aistear session – the possibilities are endless!
Writing: As we are in the run-up to our Christmas show we are using our topic as an opportunity to engage in a real-life experience. We are creating invitations to our Christmas show to post to our parents and loved ones. Our school postman will come to school when they are all ready (as the post box is too far to walk to) and he will collect the invitations and deliver them to our homes! Of course, the children are not able to write the whole invitation themselves, but they are writing their names etc and creating their own designs. Most importantly, they get to put a real stamp on their real post!
Next week I will incorporate my funky fingers table into Aistear and the children will get to explore the wrapping station where they can carefully wrap a variety of items. This is a great activity to improve their fine motor skills as well as work on their problem solving and teamwork!
Small World: My small world area is influenced by the video from the An Post website on the journey of a letter. The children have some small world toys and are enjoying role-playing with the cars, trucks and trains to collect and deliver the post around the town.
Roleplay: My favourite! I do love a good roleplay and this one is going down a storm! There is so much language and so many roles that are new to the children in this area and it is great to see them exploring new things and using new language! We are still getting to terms with the difference between the Postmaster/mistress and the Postman/woman but what better way to learn the difference than through play?
My Post Office has a variety of printed resources, from banners, keywords, picture cards etc which are all from Twinkl. They have great resources for so many Aistear areas and they don’t disappoint with their Post Office Pack.
I have some props such as parcels, a letter sack, scales and a post box which the children are really enjoying playing with.
The children can interact with the postbox by taking out the post, sorting it and delivering it around the classroom. I have created a set of post for them which is in the postbox at the start of each Aistear session. Around the classroom, there are some pictures of houses (which revises the language we covered during the topic of homes around different types of houses) and each house has a number (incorporating the numbers we have covered so far) and the children have to deliver the post to the right house!
The postmaster/mistress has to work hard to make sure that all the post is charged for correctly. They have a variety of envelopes, bags and stamps to help them in their role!
If you pop into your local post office and ask nicely, you can get stamps printed in any monetary denomination of your choice! So we have 1c stamps – 100 real-life stamps for €1! Next week I will add 2c, 3c, 4c and 5c as these are the numbers we have covered and it’s another opportunity for them to explore numbers!
Of course, our role play has many opportunities to write too! We have postcards, letters, party invitations and Christmas cards which the children can write and then post in our postbox for tomorrows group to have fun delivering around the classroom. Some have been addressing them to the houses while others have been addressing them to children in the class!
As always, things will change as the children will alter, remove things, add things in or take things in a totally different direction! I have no doubt that by the time the topic is finished I will have more ideas, with thanks to the children, to add to the post so watch this space!
Play and have fun!