1. All the other teachers in my school send out a list requesting particular school supplies (markers, pencils, crayons, notebooks, etc.). I, however, use an abbreviated list with only three things on it. I ask that each child bring a composition notebook to use as a journal, a backpack to bring to school daily, and $5.00 so that I can buy the supplies we need. I pool the money and buy the things we need, of the quality that I want, rather than end up with lots of cheapo crayons and glue (that won’t work and are a total waste of money), plus lots of scissors/rulers/folders/notebooks that we don’t need at all.
2. Our school supplies are in central locations, and are shared. Even back when the kids brought in all their own supplies, I learned quickly that it was impractical for each child to have his/her own box of supplies. Here are some reasons. First you need to find room for 20-25 boxes, and then you have to deal with the pushing and shoving when it is time to go get your boxes. Then there isn’t enough room on the tables for the work the kids need to do plus all the boxes. Then they have trouble keeping their stuff to themselves, and battles erupt over whose crayon this is. And finally, the stuff in the boxes slowly gets used up or ruined, and the parents don’t re-supply, so no one has what the need for a project. I prefer to have 5 baskets of crayons (I have 5 tables) on a designated shelf, with designated places for pencils, scissors, markers, glue, and so on. It works much more efficiently.
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I have my parents send things like tissues, clorox wipes and baby wipes. I use my budget on the crayons, glue sticks and such that I like and they are all the same. Each child has a cubby basket with their own box of crayons, one pencil, one pair of scissors, on baggie of pliable (but doesn’t dry out) clay and their nametag. I find that they take much better care of their own things than shared things. If they begin to destroy their crayons, then I do let the child know that their parents will see the broken crayons on parent/teacher conference day. It makes a difference. They are allowed to bring 1 thing to the table at a time. They must put the crayons back before they get the scissors and then put those away before getting the pencil. Yes, that’s a lot of moving around, but 4 year olds need movement and it works fine. If we are doing a group project, I’ll call girls (or boys or long sleeve shirts or tie shoes…) to get their crayons first and so on. Less pushing and shoving. I’ve done this for 18 years and it works. What Ican’t understand is why my daughter’s teacher has asked for 2 pairs of scissors and 18 fat pencils and 6 large art erasers. That’s crazy!