Pupils of a Kaipara school are eager to say thank you to all essential workers who have helped them and their families through the lockdown period and to reach out to everyone, they learned an old-school custom – writing a letter.
After Room 2 pupils at Te Kopuru School returned to their class under alert level 3, the children and their teacher Sheila Martin talked about what they are thankful for.
"They first talked about their parents and family and the wider community," Martin said.
When Martin asked how they would like to express their thanks, the youngsters suggested calling everyone, which turned out to be a Sisyphean task. Instead, Martin taught her pupils how to write a letter – something they had never done before.
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"Dear Dairy Farmers, Thank you for milking the cows to give us butter and yoghurt. We appreciate you working for us," Devon McCallum wrote in his first-ever letter.
Lachlan Rope wanted to thank ambulance officers:
"Dear Ambulance, Thank you for getting people when they are hurt. We appreciate you working for us."
Martin said not only did the pupils master the art of formally writing a letter, they also expanded their vocabulary by the word "appreciate".
Paige Tangimetua appreciates people at the meatworks:
"Dear Meatworks, Thank you for giving us meat to eat."
And Vernon Ranui is grateful that his doctor tested his blood during lockdown.
Martin said by sending their letters to the Northern Advocate, her class hoped to reach as many essential workers as possible.
When about half of Martin's class returned to school after level 4, the social distancing was hard for the children at first, the teacher said.
"They had sanitisers at the door to greet them. Each one was sitting at their own table, using their pencils and not allowed to share their food. They found that quite daunting."
After about three days however, the kids got the hang of it and helped their classmates who gradually returned to school, too.
Everyone was glad now to return to a bit of normality.
Read all letters in tomorrow's edition of the Northern Advocate.