It’s an art form that’s all but vanished for younger Canadians, but a group of London elementary students are learning to write letters – on actual paper – to their new pen pals, all residents of a London retirement home.

The students, who attended Eagle Heights Elementary School, are all new to Canada.

And they’re the first to take part in the PaperPal Program.

Created by paper-maker Domtar and Royal Envelope, PaperPal provides writing materials to students, enabling them to correspond with seniors, Canadian veterans and current soldiers.

The goal is to encourage students to engage in the fading form of letter writing, Barbara Steinhoff of PaperPal tells CTV News.

“You get an email, you get a ding. But to get a letter in the mail and something you can hold on to, and keep is very different, and I think that's great to bring to young people."

The kids write the letter from a form and fill in their school and personal interests, including sports and favourite foods. But that’s just the first letter.

"We're hoping to do it for the rest of this school year, and then perhaps end the year with an actual visit (with the seniors),” teacher Sherri Sheppard says.

The kids also expect to learn from the seniors.

Nagham Amasri says she is looking forward to writing her PaperPal, “He's like older than me, and he’s learned a lot, and I can learn from him now.”