My 10 yrs old niece is in my home for summer vacations. She is generally playing most of the time with the kids in the neighborhood. (Who wouldn't?) I was checking with her as to what her other friends are up-to during the holidays. She said most go to summer camps learning painting, singing, art workshops etc. Some of her friends are on foreign tours as-well. And here my niece was playing indoor and outdoor games.
So on Friday night I asked her - What happens in a post office? And the answer was very guessable - People buy stamps, cards, letters and post it in the post box. I did not comment on the answer, but gave her an assignment.
Goto the post-office near my home. Spend 30 mins inside the post-office. See, observe, talk to visitors and prepare a report on why people come to post-office and what they do there.
She readily accepted the offer. So we went to the post-office on Saturday. Me and her. Equipped with pen, pencil, eraser and a notepad, she looked like a journalist. I left her inside the post-office and left the place. After 30 mins, her preliminary version of the project was ready.
Her modus operandi was very simple (like instructed earlier) - Observe what people do and approach people and ask them why have they come to the PO. She also introduced herself and told the individuals that she was doing a project in her vacations. Predictably the reactions from the people was pretty open and warm.
What amazed her is the number of people who come to post-office for the "original purpose of post office" is very less. More people visit the PO for the traditional banking purposes like collecting old age pension, collecting money from savings schemes like monthly income scheme(MIS). Indian postal service is spreading its wings into various domains.
She is now ready for a bank project.
Personally, I felt that such exercises to the children would give them confidence to interact with people. Of-course the knowledge they gain is also immense.
I hope she makes the preliminary version of the project into a report to show it to her classmates after the vacation. Proudly.