Jahjumbeen Kindergarten and Child Care Centre’s Early Childhood Educator Parin Naeimi shares the struggles of not just parents, but children during the pandemic and how they have stayed connected.

“I hate Coronavirus” says the 4-year-old when he is informed by his mum that he can’t accompany her to the shopping center because of COVID-19. While grown-ups no doubt have been struggling with the challenges the pandemic has put them through, children too have been facing their own difficulties.

Many families made the decision to keep their children home as a precautionary measure since March, and suddenly the social world of children came to a halt. Children missed their friends and their Kindy, and although some parents managed to use technologies such as Zoom and Skype to keep the children in touch with their best friends, it was still limited, depending on the technologies the families might have had available and its compatibility with those of other families.

At Jahjumbeen Kindergarten and Child Care Centre (KCCC), we thought about ways to facilitate the process of staying connected for our children, and one of the ideas we came up with was letters. The letters would provide easy access to all children and families at no cost and would be accessible at the convenience of their own home, and tangible for children to keep and revisit as many times as they wished. They also brought about the opportunity to engage in early literacy practices.

The first batch of letters from Early Childhood Teacher, Parin Naeimi, were posted to every Kindergarten child, and soon enough, letters started flying in and out. Children received their letters excitedly and responded with their families’ help, and then, using the make shift Post Box we created together, they began to write to each other, and their educators. Now our children are all back to Kindy, and happily interacting with their friends.

“Clara always asks to scoot down to check the letterbox today, and what a treat to find Miss Parin’s letter! She hid behind me when I read out all the beautiful words. And it nearly brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for paying so much attention to my daughter and giving her so much love. We are very lucky to have such dedicated caring teachers in her life. I took a little picture after she had torn it open!” says Tara, a parent of Jahjumbeen KCCC.

However, if you step in Jahjumbeen these days, you may in all likelihood see children composing and dictating letters for their absent friends (or even present ones!), and some are even writing on their own. In these letters, children are declaring their affections for their friends, their desire to see them and play with them, and occasionally sharing Kindergarten news. Miss Parin is more than happy to deliver the letters children place in the post box to the post office, so the recipients can collect their letters from their mail boxes. The letters have served us well in keeping in touch, and it seems like they will be around for a while.