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Use children's experiences of a real Post Office visit in their role play.
Encourage the children to write letters or draw pictures to send to their families at home. Have addressed stickers ready for the children to stick on their envelopes.
Now visit a real Post Office. Risk assess and check your adult-child ratio first.
Help the children to buy stamps at the Post Office counter and post their letters in the box. Apart from the counter services, what else is on sale in the Post Office?
Talk about what will happen to their letters now; the sequence of posting, sorting and delivering the post.
Encourage the children to track their own post by letting everyone know when it arrives!
Set up the role play window:
The role play window will form part of your Post Office counter. Provide a cash till and use the window to provide a range of Post Office services as detailed below.
Fill trays or shallow boxes with blank forms; collect real forms, use the photocopiable passport and driving licence forms on pages 73 and 74 and involve children in making their own documents using squared paper.
Provide stickers to use as stamps.
Don't forget that large letters cost more. Make a ‘size guide’ by cutting a slot in a piece of sturdy card. Post Office staff can test the size and thickness of the letters by passing them through the slot. They will need to charge more for letters that won't fit through.
Provide different sized boxes and brown paper for the children to make parcels. This will encourage problem solving; thinking about shape and size. Vary the weight of parcels by putting something inside. Include scales at the Post Office counter.
Have a table adjacent to the window selling stationery. Involve children in making Birthday cards to sell. Use a Paint program on your computer to print wrapping paper; there are programs available that allow children to paint a design, minimise it and repeat it over the page.
Encourage children to organise themselves into a queue in front of the window. Model ordinal language; first, second, third. Could you use a second window for busy days?
Provide a post box outside the Post Office area. Add a label with collection times.
To generate post, set up a writing table nearby stocked with the following resources:
Plain paper, lined paper and coloured paper in different sizes.
Greetings cards, notecards, invitations and postcards.
A4 card for making own greetings cards.
Envelopes in different sizes.
A variety of pens and pencils.
Ready for more?
Make a simple sorting office. Number some envelopes and match them to numbered shoeboxes.
Use your Post Office play to celebrate festivals when cards are traditionally sent; Diwali, Passover, Hanukkah, Eid, Christmas and Easter.