Let me paint a picture – You have this great activity planned and you can’t wait for the children to get really creative with it, so you make a list of materials that you need and hand it out to all of the parents with a deadline for their classroom donations. That deadline comes and you’ve received 1 or two items off your list. Now you have a choice, do you cross the activity off your list or find another way to secure the materials you need – even if it means buying them yourself?
Raise your hand if this has happened to you – is your hand raised? Mine is. I’ve experienced this from both sides, as the teacher and as the parent. I can say that it’s equally frustrating no matter which side you’re on. As the teacher it’s heartbreaking to not have the materials for something that you KNOW will enrich your students’ learning. As the parent, I almost always get a list like this right after I’ve thrown away a stash of multiple items on the list. We’re all going about this the wrong way.
As a teacher, it would be so much easier to have all of those materials before I needed them. As a parent, I would love to be able to give the school the materials that they need on my own timeline, so I don’t have to keep them at home until they might be requested. There’s a way to make this happen! Giving your families a list of the materials that you regularly use and encouraging them to bring these in any time will make it possible to have the materials you want when you need them. Sending this list out a couple of times throughout the year will serve as a great reminder. Right now is a really good time because families will be entertaining and may have a extra materials after the holidays.
You know what your favorite items are, but here are some that you might think about adding:
- Scrap paper
- Cardboard tubes
- Boxes or containers
- Paper bags
- Tissue paper
- Milk cartons
- Plastic bottles
- Serving trays
As you’re thinking about the items that you want to put on your list, it’s also really helpful to consider how you’ll store any items that come in. Creating a system for families who want to donate can streamline the process too – like having a large bin that donations can be placed in so that you can go through them at a more convenient time, or a form that they should send in with them so you know who donated and what the items are. Add making and sharing this list to your plans for the beginning of January, I’m betting it’ll make a great difference!