Getting children to understand the point of letters can be something of a challenge these days. It’s all Whatsapp, Snapchat and Instagram – or to use the vernacular, ‘Insta’. My children groan and sigh at my attempts to stay current (“Facebook is so has-been” apparently). Learning the art of letter writing can feel pointless, and feeling the joy of receiving a long awaited letter in the post is something many children now never experience.
School-Home Support and Nomura have teamed up for a third year to run a Pen Pal scheme with two South London primary schools. This initiative supports the letter writing topic taught at schools, encouraging children to develop their literacy skills. Opening up a real letter, addressed to them at the start of their ‘letter writing’ lesson, provides a really valuable stimulus for children. They also learn vital social skills: how to communicate with someone very different to them and how to take part in two-way communication in order to learn more about another person. Speaking to people working in offices also introduces young people to different careers, encouraging them to think of their futures and how school connects to careers.
Volunteering on this initiative means time limited staff can still get involved, as only 30 minutes three times a year is all that is required.
We’re looking forward to the exchanges between Nomura staff and children: they’ll be writing to each other three times during this academic year.