This term Year 4 are studying the Romans in History, Europe and a focus on Italy in Geography and some introductory Latin during their Enrichment lessons that replace swimming. During a PSHEE lesson about different types of friendships, Pranav mentioned he had a pen-pal in India with whom he exchanged letters. This comment sparked an idea in my head: why not find pen-pals as a whole class and make it an on-going project! Fortunately, I had some specific children in mind…my sister-in-law is deputy head of an international school in Rome called The New School Rome ( http://www.newschoolrome.com/ ). If the Year 4 class in this school was willing to become our pen-pals, then we’d not only share the usual details of our hobbies and interests, but also tap into their direct experiences of living in Rome and learn more about both our History and Geography topics.
After a couple of emails between my sister-in-law and me, the project was agreed upon and I introduced Year 4 to the idea. We looked at the New School’s website and learnt some facts about our partner school including: the school goes from Reception all the way to Sixth Form; it’s a mixed school; children who go there come from all around the world; children call teachers – and the head – by their first names; there is a school cat called McVitie; and lots of learning happens outside during summer due to the Italian climate. Next, we each wrote a letter to introduce ourselves and posed some questions for our Roman counterparts to answer. Samay very kindly provided a postcard of a London scene and a sticker for each of his classmates to include with their letter and Abhimaan brought in his sealing-wax kit so we could seal each envelope in style!
On a wet and windy Wednesday morning, we set off to Rayners Lane Post Office in order to post our letters to Rome whilst taking photos to track this event. I tried to find a job for everyone in the process from buying the big envelope to put our 17 envelopes in to writing parts of the Italian address to weighing the sealed packet on the scales. Post Office staff commented on how beautifully behaved the boys were and when this happens it always makes me feel proud! As an extra treat after our walk in the cold and rain, we had our wet break in the hall where we had hot chocolate and biscuits to revive us. We are now awaiting our replies by snail-mail…I have told the boys about the slow nature of the Italian postal service so this will also be an exercise in patience. In this day, when communication is so instantaneous, we miss the anticipation that comes with waiting…I think it will be worth it!