In the days since Christmas, we've been writing "Thank you" notes to friends and family. "Thank you" notes require the children to stop and consider what they are thankful for, to show gratitude for the things they have received. Writing thank you notes is more than an exercise of language and writing, it is an exercise of thoughtfulness and reflection.
""Thank you" notes should be a regular part of a child's life from as early as possible." - Susan Mayclin Stephenson - Child of the World: Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+.
"Children need little urging to draw or write on a postcard they will mail themselves. Let them watch you address the postcards. Children can then affix stamps and, if at all possible, carry postcards to the post box and drop them in." - Joyce Beydler at Montessori Services.
Pre-writers or scribblers have the ability to be involved in the "Thank you" note writing process. We know that scribbling and drawing are communicating so a child who can draw can help write notes.
As a child learns to read and write it is important that this reading and writing is purposeful. From as early as possible we can demonstrate to the child how we use writing notes and letters to express ourselves including to show gratitude. As adults, we can write our own "Thank you" notes and lead by example.
Writing and sending "Thank you" notes is a nice tradition or perhaps an expectation to set in the early years. It can also be a fun way to introduce young children to letter writing, including the process of using envelopes and stamps.
The top pictured "Thank you" note writing tray is for my three-year-old. He can almost write his name and these notes give him the opportunity to practice his writing. If you are interested in using a template like this I suggest tailoring it to your child, allowing them to write as much as possible.
Templates can be used independently by the child, for a pre-reader we could do this work with the child, ask them who they want to write a "Thank you" note to, or make suggestions and ask them to draw what they are thankful for, or the child can tell us and we can write it for them, then the child can sign (scribble) or write their own name at the end.
I want my child to focus on his writing/drawing/scribbling here. On other letter-writing trays, I've included stickers, decorative hole punches, stamps, and pictures to glue but today I've left these out. I have provided markers which we don't usually have on our shelves so these are something special to use.
For a scribbler, drawer, pre-writer we could also offer oil pastels, paints, or dot markers - anything to help them make a mark.
Children can assist with folding the note, putting it in an envelope, sealing it, putting on the stamp, and mailing it. Today we walked all the way to the post box to post the note and Otto (three-years) loved the entire process!! So much pleasure and satisfaction were gained by a very simple (easy, affordable, not time-consuming) activity.
Related articles you might find useful:
- A Toddler Letter Writing Tray (for Pre-Writers 2-3 yrs+)
- A Letter Writing Tray - For a Four Year Old
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