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For kindergarten and preschool teachers, deciding which school supplies to purchase can be as creative an endeavor as some of the preschoolers’ own projects. Whereas grade school teachers have a somewhat standard selection of supplies to purchase, including pens, pencils, erasers and notebooks, preschool supplies encompass a wider range of more tactile materials for craft-based activities. Preschool supplies can be divided up into two main categories: one-time purchases such as furniture, and supplies which need to be continuously replenished, such as paper and crayons. Preschool teachers can also approach their school supply shopping according to their lesson plans, deciding which supplies will be needed in order for students to complete certain crafts or projects in the curriculum.
For those starting a preschool, one-time preschool supplies should start with items that can best make use of space, such as room dividers and play stations. In addition to tables and chairs, nap mats and a large rug for kids to gather during reading time are other one-time supply staples. Many preschool teachers also find tote trolleys or cubbies to be effective compartments for preschoolers to store their own individual supplies. Smaller one-time purchases include items such as books, blocks, LEGO®, safety scissors (both left-handed and right-handed), music, and laminated posters and charts for the walls.
Preschool supplies which need to be replenished on a regular basis can be purchased at most department stores as well as dollar stores and stores that specifically stock teachers’ supplies. These preschool supplies include items such as: crayons, washable markers, washable paints, paintbrushes, colored construction paper and craft paper, flip charts, washable glue sticks, and Play-Doh®. As long as preschool teachers keep in mind the special safety precautions of their students’ age group, they can also incorporate materials that aren’t primarily meant to be school supplies into their craft projects, such as macaroni, pipe cleaners, and even potatoes for stamp making.
Determining lesson plans or a list of projects for preschoolers in advance of purchasing supplies is perhaps the easiest and most efficient way to ensure that a preschool is fully stocked and equipped. Since most lesson plans for small children are synchronized with the current season and their corresponding holidays or themes, preschool teachers can first begin by making a list of projects students could make and their requisite supplies. For example, having preschoolers make cards for their moms for Mother’s Day might require supplies such as construction paper, safety scissors, crayons and glue sticks, while a Christmas tree decoration might call for items such as glitter glue, string, and Play-Doh®.