Backpack and Supplies for Kindergarten

Your child’s school supply list may include a large backpack.  As a parent you may be wondering, “why in the world does my five year old need a large backpack?”  You would be amazed at how little can actually fit inside a small pack.  As a kindergarten teacher, my rule was at the end of the day when you pack up, nothing should be in your hands when you head to the bus or pick up lines. “Everything going home needs to be in your backpack.”  Believe me; I had many students try to get away with this.  Even at the end of the school year, someone would try to carry their homework, coat, or lunchbox.  If the students are holding something, there is much more potential for them to lose something on the way out the door, on the bus, standing outside at the pick- up line, walking home etc.  This prevented extra phone calls on the day pictures went home or report cards.  This would be the alternative: “Why didn’t my child get her pictures today?” “My daughter brought her report card home, how come my son didn’t?  Didn’t you send them home today?”  Yep, I sure did!

 I wanted everything in their backpack.  So, by the time they put their papers in their folder, their lunchbox, library book on some days, some students keep an extra clean pair of undies and pants in their backpacks for those “oops” days, and when it’s warm out they don’t want to wear their coat/sweatshirt and so that ends up in there as well, and Presto!  Their backpack is full!  I’ve actually asked parents at the beginning of the year if I could give their child a larger backpack to use instead of their small one.  Some days they will have larger things to take home or bring to school such as sharing, science projects, show and tell items or big art projects that they get to take home.

 A lot of teachers like to collect the school supplies and use them as a community within the classroom.  This is most likely to occur if your child’s classroom has tables instead of desks.  With tables there really isn’t a place for each child to keep their own separate supplies.  It is much easier to have some kind of supply caddy on each table with all of the needed supplies offered to the whole table.   I never liked to keep glue at the table, especially at the beginning of the school year.  (Can you guess why?)  It was just too tempting for those little darlings, so I would keep a separate bin with just glue.  When the students needed it, they could go get it and then put it back when finished with that activity or project. (This was sometimes the case with scissors depending on the students that year.  Yes, did you ever have a child that liked cutting her own hair?  Oh yes, it happens in class too.  Turn your back for one minute, and someone has just given themselves a $1.99 new hairstyle.  At least it wasn’t their tablemate, well, most of the time it wasn’t.   One year the kindergarten teacher next door had a student cut his own eyelashes!  Yes, really, his eyelashes.  Yes, that’s a fun phone call home.  Not!

  If your child’s classroom has desks, then it may be likely that each child will keep their own supplies in their desk for the year.  That’s when you may like to label your child’s supplies with their name.  While I’m on the idea of labeling, please, please!  Do everyone a favor, and label all of your child’s sweatshirts, jackets, coats and lunchboxes!  You wouldn’t believe the unclaimed clothing that sits in the school lost and found each year.  Many items are never claimed!  As a teacher, I often wondered how parents didn’t realize their child had been missing all of their coats for months!  My friend who teaches 5th grade looked in the lockers for her upcoming students right before school started and was shocked to see three coats left in a locker from the previous year!  If no one claimed these items, we’d donate them to the Goodwill, or some other organization that could really benefit from some children’s clothing.  At least they went to a good cause.  If you want your items back, please label with your child’s first and last name. 

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