The Back to School List of Supplies

I see many parents frantically shopping for back-to-school supplies at the moment and the stress is often showing on their faces. We also have schools and daycares stocking up on back-to-school supplies at Quality Classrooms. All in all, it is a rather manic time of year for schools, daycares, parents and students.

I don’t have to worry about this for another year, thank goodness, but I was curious to find out what sort of items my daughter will need when she does go to school. Canadian Parents have a list online, starting with grade. It came with a disclaimer that it did not include notebooks, binders or specialty items. It looks like a very long list to me. I am not sure I would want to send my darling daughter to school with a permanent marker and surely any school has soap and water making hand sanitizer redundant? Perhaps parents are now sending their children to school with suitcases instead of backpacks to carry all their school supplies?

While talking to a friend about Preschool recently, we were discussing how she was doing collecting the back-to-school list. She is a bargain hunter like me and has been collecting slowly as she saw sales, making sure to buy quality products. As a teacher herself, she knows the disadvantages of buying low-quality school supplies; pencil leads break, crayons leave clear wax marks and pens dry up in a matter of days! We discussed the choice that many schools make; they buy the school supplies themselves and then ask parents to contribute. Some parent organizations provide the school supply list as a fundraiser. As a teacher, she felt this was preferable as she could control the quality of the supplies and ensure that all the children had supplies.

When teaching in England, I was able to order all the supplies for my class during the year. Many schools here in Canada do the same.  I prepared for children to bring nothing but asked the parents to supply; pencils, rulers, pens, coloured pencils and erasers. Some children came to school with a pencil case stocked with everything they could possibly need and more, others came with nothing. The socio-economical difference between students is noticed by some children and can result in bullying. As teachers, we have the responsibility to ensure all children feel safe and equally treated in the classroom. Providing access to quality supplies is a wonderful way of making the ‘playing field’ more equal.

How do you feel about providing school supplies as a teacher or a parent?

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