For most children, writing a letter is something they only do for Santa at Christmas time.
But for primary three pupils at St Clement’s RC Primary School in Dundee, it’s a skill they are using to keep spirits up during lockdown.
This is because these pupils have been paired with a resident at the care home, Turriff House, and are writing to their new friends as a way of combating loneliness in these tough times.
The class was inspired to take on the project after seeing a news report about a school in England writing to residents during lockdown.
Teacher Kerry Don said: “The inspiration came from Newsround. We were watching it one afternoon and the children saw another school who were doing letters to a care home.
“One of our pupils, Skylar, said it would be a great idea if we could do it as a class so we ran with it.
“Luckily we have a contact. Oliver’s mum is the manager of Turriff House, so we got in touch with her and she said it would be a great idea.”
The periods of lockdown have been hard for everyone but perhaps most so for those in care homes who may not have been able to see their loved ones for months.
And with video calls not always easily accessible to residents, receiving a letter can be something which they really look forward to.
Mrs Don said: “The care homes have been disproportionately affected by this, just like the schools, and we think it would be a lovely connection to send something nice.
“Oliver’s mum was saying that when the residents get something, it lights up their day. They absolutely treasure it.
“It’s also Lent so we are thinking about others during this time, and it’s something nice we can do.
“It all ties in together and we can spread a bit of good news when everyone needs it.”
Working on the letters is also proving be an opportunity for the pupils to put their writing skills to the test and they have put their thinking caps on to come up with topics to discuss with their new friends.
“I gave them free rein to write a letter and because they are only primary three, they had no clue what to put in it,” Mrs Don explained.
“They were thinking about what the residents might like and we thought about TV programmes families like, such as the Chase and Tipping Point.
“We also thought the weather would be a talking point – it was about trying to find a connection.”
Each pupil will be writing to a specific resident, and they have also included a hand drawn picture with the letters to bring an added smile to their faces.
Oliver Clark, who has also been tasked with delivering the letters to the residents, said: “Mrs Don gave us out post-it notes with the person we are writing to.
“I drew a rainbow with a little crown on it and I put the care home in the middle of the rainbow.
“I’m taking them to my mum and I think I might have to hand it to one of the staff members.”