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School Supply Shopping Tips from a Teacher Who Knows What’s Up

School Supply Shopping Tips from a Teacher Who Knows What’s Up

  • Real school supply advice from a Teacher of the Year!
  • Shop tax-free July 15-17, 2022

You either love school supply shopping or… you don’t. School supply lists seem to be getting longer and longer every year, and for a new shopper it’s super overwhelming. So what would happen if you could pair a first-time Kindergarten mom with an award-winning teacher, give them gift cards, and turn them loose to shop for school supplies? Lucky for you we thought it would be fun to do just that!

Oh, to be a fly on that wall… here’s a few things we learned that we didn’t know.

Ask the Expert: Kindergarten School Supply Tips from a Teacher

1. Some stores have your supply lists on hand.

It was surprising that Target had printed lists for each school ALREADY IN THE SCHOOL SUPPLY SECTION! That was super handy and genius. But don’t rely on that – all stores are different. Go to your school’s website and screenshot or print out the supply list before you hit the store.

2. Most teachers do NOT want supplies labeled with your kid’s name.

Unless a teacher asks, it’s not a great idea to write your child’s name on kindergarten school supplies. 99.99999% of the time all those crayons and pencils and glue sticks are going in a giant bin for community classroom use. There’s simply no time for each child to find the one with their name on it. Most teachers distribute supplies a needed.

“Because if you leave your kid with all their supplies on the first day it will be used up within five days.”

3. To sharpen or not to sharpen?

According to Ms. Rikard, you will be your kid’s teacher’s new BFF if you pre-sharpen your pencils. Because guess who gets to sharpen an entire kindergarten class-worth of pencils if you don’t? And nobody trusts a 5 year-old at a pencil sharpener. #nubs

4. Avoid the kitty-cat folders.

We get it. As a parent, you want buy-in when it comes to school supplies. But a teacher needs to avoid classroom meltdowns. There have been knock-down, drag-out fights over a cute kitty folder. Do everyone a favor – let your child pick out a solid-color folder in a primary color and call it a day. You can always splurge on a kitty folder for something fun at home.

5. Also avoid mechanical pencils & personal pencil sharpeners.

Click the lead out.
Push the lead in.
Click the lead out.
Push the lead in.
Repeat 42 more times. Ditto for individual sharpeners.

6. Stick to the designated details.

If a teacher asks for something with specific dimensions, there’s usually a good reason for it. A supply box taller than 3 inches might not fit inside their desk.

7. Blunt-tip scissors ONLY.


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8. Don’t get the cheap glue sticks if you can help it.

Apparently those things get moldy. Who knew? And whatever you do, don’t get the ones that smell like candy.

9. Dry erase markers are the way to a teacher’s heart.

Just don’t buy a pack with an eraser in it. She has one already. Or maybe 40.

10. Take a moment to enjoy this time.

This is an exciting time to be a parent of a Kindergartner! Yes, it can be stressful, but think of all the awesome things your child will learn and do this year! Try to breathe, relax, and stop to smell the freshly-sharpened pencils. You’re both going to do GREAT!

Special thanks to Kiley Rikard, 2021 Teacher of the Year at Mill Creek Elementary, for her expertise and school supply tips, as well as Huntsville parent, Amy Garrison, for letting us tag along on her shopping trip! You’re going to have a GREAT year!

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