A postcard project has proved to be a world-wide success, with people from across the globe posting their best wishes to youngsters in Jarrow.
Pupils at Fellgate Primary School’s specialist autistic unit have embarked on their own trip around the world through virtual reality and postcards.
Since September, the youngsters have taken a tour of England and visited countries including Australia, Iceland, India, the United States, as well as the Middle East.
During the ‘trips’ they have learned about festivals, traditions, weather, flags, dress, food, language, buildings and famous people.
However, it was a plea for people to send postcards from around the world which has really captured the imagination of the youngsters.
To date the group have received more than 180 postcards from countries including Fiji, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Israel, Bethlehem, Arizona and South Africa.
We are so grateful to everyone who has sent us something, each day the children eagerly await the postman. It’s beautiful to watch their little eyes light up when they receivce a card.Emma Oliver
Emma Oliver said: “People have been so generous sending us not only postcards, but gifts - we have received chocolate, sweets, teddy bears, souvenirs and colouring packs.
“We are so grateful to everyone who has sent us something, each day the children eagerly await the postman. It’s beautiful to watch their little eyes light up when they receive a card.
“Learning about different places seemed to excite this group. It opened their minds, they asked questions and wanted to know more information about other places.
“As a result of our appeal we have also now got pen pals in Switzerland and Australia.”
A Facebook page - Blue Groups Post Cards from Around the World - has been set up to keep people updated on the project. The page already has 970 followers.
Miss Oliver said: “Autistic children can find it hard to deal with everyday concepts, but learning about different places seems to excite them.
“It opened their minds, they asked questions and wanted to know more information about other places.
“The children have really absorbed this topic, pointing out landmarks, mentioning famous people on TV, identifying flags of the world.
“Staff did not anticipate, when we started, how far this exploration would taken them.”
Anyone who is going on holiday and would like to send the class a postcard can do so by posting it to Blue Group, Fellgate Autistic Unit, Oxford Way, Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, NE32 4XA.