I've realized that instead of emailing each of you individually, it will be MUCH more time efficient for me to just put any instructions/directions on the blog. At the last count, almost 70 people have emailed me wanting to participate in this exchange. Since I have a hard time telling people no, I am going to divide the exchange into several groups.
I need each participant to email me with the following information:
1) Do you want to exchange with 1 person, 6 people, or a group of 12?
Please keep in mind that shipping may get expensive, and once you commit to being a part of a group, you MUST follow through with it.
2) Your child/children's names and ages
3) The country that you will be representing (several people who live in the US will be representing their home countries).
4) Your full name and mailing address
5) Please put "Cultural Exchange" in the subject line of your email
Please keep in mind that you must email me with this information to be a part of this exchange. I need this information as soon as possible in order to set up groups.
Here is what I expect from each participant...PLEASE read and be sure that you will be able to comply with the instructions before committing to be a part of this exchange.
1) If you sign up for a group of 12, you MUST send a package to each of your 12 group members! I do not want anyone to send out more packages than they get in return.
2) Each package should include a letter to the child/children of the participant you are sending it to...for example, the letters to me should be sent to O and E.
3) The letters should be written as if from a child. Although, parents may write the letters with input from their children if the children are unable to write letters. The letters should include relevant cultural information...holidays, traditions, your child's favorite foods and pasttimes. Basically, I want my children to be able to vividly imagine what it would be like to live in your country. I want them to have enough information that we can pretend to travel to your country and be children in your country. Be as descriptive and provide as much information as possible. Remember that you are reaching children around the world...what do you want them to know about your country???
4) You must include at least 1 picture of your child. I plan to put a huge map on our our wall, and we will attach the picture of the child to his/her home country. This will make our cultural/geography study more relevant and exciting!
5) You must include at least include at least 3 items in addition to the letter and pictures. These items could be coins, bills, stamps, artwork by your children, a small handmade toy, a recipe card with your favorite child friendly recipe, a small flag from your country, candy, small souvenir or trinket, postcards, examples of your language, stickers, small musical instrument, etc. Everything will need to be small and lightweight in order to minimize shipping cost.
6) All packages need to be sent out at roughly the same time...don't send one this month, the next 6 months from now, etc. I will not be sending my packages until the end of August or beginning of September. I want to be able to gather souvenirs while we are on vacation, and I want to have plenty of time plan our letter. Others of you have indicated that it may be several months before you can send your packages...ALL packages need to be sent by October (unless you contact me ahead of time and let me know...I need to know this information before I set up the groups).
If I think of anything else that I need, I will post it here. I will only send your names and addresses to the people who are in your group. I will never post personal information online. However, I will post info about the packages we receive along with links to your blog if you would like for me to.
Thanks for reading and participating in this (hopefully!) fun, educational, fantastic, wonderful, and phenomenal exchange!!!