Lockdown turns schoolyard friends into penpals


Children who regularly attend Narara OSHCLUB (Outside School Hours Care) in the grounds of Narara Public School but are studying from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown recently received a pleasant surprise in the mail.

OSHCLUB co-ordinator, Dee Green, said those children who were still attending had hand-written letters to their friends.

“We regularly have 58 children in before and after school care and more for vacation care,” Green said.

“Right now we have just 16 children of essential workers attending because of lockdown.”

Green said the children arrive from 6:30am each day, are delivered to classes during school time and return to OSHCLUB afterwards, staying up to 6pm.

“The children are often forgotten during these COVID times,” she said.

“Those who are still attending miss their friends so much and haven’t been able to see them for two months now.

“They know their friends can’t come because of COVID but really miss them.

Co-ordinator, Dee Green with Emily

“The idea (of writing letters) came from the children themselves during one of our Monday children’s meetings where they are asked what they would like us to program for them.

“One child said ‘what about write to them?’.

“There was so much excitement in the room; one child said ‘My mum and dad use to be pen pals, and that’s how they met, but now they are married’.

“Another said ‘Well I don’t want to get married yet, I’m only six; I just want to send a letter’.

“So they all decided to be someone’s penpal.

“I sent out an email to all parents just in case they didn’t want to be included, but we had an amazing response.

“We have over 150 children enrolled here and every single child received a letter.

“This is a big part of our whole of child program, where every child is unique and valued.”

Green said the children each received a handwritten letter from a fellow student, along with a special gift to lift their spirits.

Terry Collins