Grade 5 students in Virtual School Elementary - East (VEE) created and distributed more than 100 heartfelt letters for residents of a local long-term care facility as a way to make meaningful social connections and incorporate important learning lessons.
In their decked out letters, students wrote about themselves, funny stories, asked questions, and included jokes and riddles to let residents of Palermo Village Retirement Residence know they are appreciated and not alone. This project was inspired by Love For Our Elders
, a worldwide initiative aimed at making social connections with residents in long-term care facilities.
Teachers Lacey Joyce, Chelsea Bekaert and Alexandra Williams helped students craft their messages for the residents that were received by Palermo last week. Joyce says the creations were touching.
“We already knew how amazing our students were, but these letters blew us away,” she says. “A few students indicated in their letters that they wanted to hear back from the resident they wrote. I found this very interesting that they wanted to establish a connection, to be a part of a magical moment.”
In one letter, grade 5 student Julie wrote about a recent talent show and how a fellow student, with eyes closed, solved a rubik’s cube.
“I wanted to let you know that you are a very special person and you are loved. Keep the memories of the people you have met and all of the lives you have touched close to your heart,” Jule wrote.
Grade 5 student Lamar says the letter project was a positive experience.
“I learned that when you do something kind for others it makes you feel good as well,” he says. “I also learned how important it is to be kind to others, especially to our elders.”
“I learned it's always good to share whatever you can with someone, that even the smallest thing will make them feel good about themselves,” says Grade 5 student Diya. “Knowing that other people are thinking and caring about them will put a smile on their face.”
Joyce says this project was an effective approach to addressing a number of key curriculum targets such as Language (letter writing), Media (creating pieces of media for different audiences), Art (two- and three-dimensional artwork), and Health (demonstrating the ability to make connections that relate to health and well-being like a pandemic).
Administrators at Palermo Village Retirement Residence say residents were so thankful for the letters they received.
“It means so much to Palermo Village Retirement Residence to know our younger generation values our residents and it reminds us of the wonderful sense of community that exists,” says Arielle Hewus, Life Enrichment Manager. “Our residents were very touched by the kindness and thoughtfulness of the students and were so thankful to receive a personalized letter and to know that someone is thinking of them.”