Pupils in Year Six have been thinking about how to help some of our elderly residents feel less lonely and isolated in the communities we share.
The pupils began by looking at some pictures of older people and reading a short passage from the book: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively, in which a nurse, attending a patient, asks :"Was she somebody?" From this we realised that our elderly friends will have rich pasts and histories that we would love to share.
Local charity, Volunteering in Health, teamed us up with some pen pals and we set about writing individual letters to them. It was great to tell them about all the wonderful things we are doing in school. Of course, we also had a plethora of questions to ask so that we could compare what school was like in the past to our own experiences.
We were not disappointed when the replies started to flood in - in fact, reading them aloud felt like we were taking part in a living history lesson as the recipients told us about handwriting practice, sitting in rows at wooden desks with ink wells and pens with nibs to dip into them - and not a computer in sight!
Volunteering in Health, were careful to match up our letters with people with similar interests and already one of our pupils has spontaneously replied to her new friend - a poet, much like she is. Eugenia has sent him some of her beautiful creative writing, and with her parents, is planning to visit him in the nursing home he currently lives in. We know that she has made a positive impact in the life of someone with a shared interest and that the relationship they forge through their letters and visits will be a mutually beneficial one.
It was evident from the openings of the replies what a great level of joy these letters had given, with some people saying that they rarely get any post these days...and I am sure we can all remember the thrill of hearing the rattle of the letterbox, tearing back the seal on the envelope and unfolding all the news within. We aim to continue to spread that joy.
Of course, not everyone has been able to reply. And we understand this but we are still hoping to invite them all, alongside some of the volunteers already doing sterling work in the community, through the charity, into school to meet us in person.
The school doors will be open to welcome our new friends on the afternoon of 15th December, when we hope to provide an afternoon of tea, mince pies, friendship, performance and a hand made gift, which we will make in a craft session supported by one of our parents, Sarah Williams. We are anticipating a wonderful afternoon of music, song, recitation and laughter and are really looking forward to it.
Chloe Myers, Office Manager at Volunteering in Health said, "We have had a wonderful response to the letters - our clients were all really surprised and pleased to receive them and have commented on how lovely the letters are. They are really looking forward to coming in to meet the children and for both generations to see how much school has changed over the years."