Next month we’ll be sending out those welcome letters to our new preschoolers and their parents, and will include a list of what supplies to buy. At one school where I taught kindergarten, the tradition was that each child had his/her own plastic shoebox where they kept their crayons and other things. I had to buy all the shoeboxes, and find space for them on one of my precious shelves. Then when the school year began, each time we needed crayons or glue or pencils for a project, the kids all had to go find their shoeboxes. There was usually some pushing and shoving involved.
It wasn’t any better when they got to their tables. The shoeboxes took up precious work space, and the children frequently took each other’s things by accident. Within a few months nobody had a working glue anymore, several kids had lost their scissors, and most of their markers were dried up. I vowed never again to organize school supplies that way.
From then on, I have requested certain items, and then collect them at the start of school to be communal supplies. I have learned to explain that in my letter, or the parents will write “Bobby” on every single thing, and Bobby will cry when I take away “his stuff.”
On a shelf in the writing center I have 5 long rectangles marked “pencils” attached to the shelf with contact paper. On top of those rectangles go 5 long, rectangular baskets that are the perfect size for pencils. Whenever we need pencils, a teacher or a child grabs the baskets and puts one on each table. Underneath is a shelf marked with 5 chubbier rectangles marked “crayons” that are attached to the shelf with contact paper. The children know exactly where to put their crayon baskets when they are cleaning up.
I’ve got pencil boxes filled with colored pencils on another shelf, a bucket of glue and a bucket of scissors on the art shelf, and a place for markers, as well. This makes it SO much easier to manage, and this way we can get out only the supplies we need.