Supplies to Donate to Elementary Classrooms During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Each year parents focus on getting their child ready for going back to school with school supplies and new clothes. What some parents don't realize is that teachers aren't paid as much as they should be and lucky if they get an allotment for classroom supplies. Most of the supplies must come out of the teacher's own pocket. Helping to provide classroom supplies isn't just a help to the teacher, but to your student as well.
Most students will be sick at some point in the school year. Now with the current threat of Covid-19, child health and safety is on the minds of parents and teachers alike. There are several supplies parents and other people in the community can donate and help contribute to reducing the spread of germs
Facial Tissue is a great supply to have on hand in the classroom regardless of the grade level. Children tend to use their sleeves or hands to wipe runny noses, which is a good way to spread germs. Having facial tissues handy will help deter children from using their clothing.
The Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) "affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease," according to the CDC. As schools begin to reopen in the fall of 2020, teachers and students are faced with trying to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by following the CDC guidelines regarding face coverings.
Those who want to donate classroom supplies should consider donating disposable face masks for both adults and children. Face masks can become contaminated quickly and some students may not be able to afford to bring more than one face masks to school with them. Having disposable face masks on hand may continue to help slow the spread, especially if a situation arises that a face mask needs to be changed.
Hand Sanitizer is also a great supply for a classroom. This will help prevent the spread of germs that make us all sick. It also is more convenient that the student uses the sanitizer if they are not close to a handwashing sink. Hand sanitizer does not replace handwashing but helps reduce the spread until proper handwashing can occur. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) suggest using hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol or more in relation to COVID-19, especially if soap, water, and paper towels are not immediately available.
Donating handwashing soap is especially helpful for classrooms with handwashing stations. With the Covid-19 pandemic, we are encouraged to wash our hands more frequently. Some schools, especially those in low-income districts, may not have the funds to keep up supplies all-year-round. Donating hand soap is another way to contribute to the students' and staff's health and safety.
Drying hands and cleaning up messes with disposable paper towels will also help limit the spread of germs. Cloth and hand dryers have shown to spread various microbes, including bacteria and viral germs. However, paper towels can be used up quickly. Thus, this would be a great bonus to your classroom supply donations.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and other viruses, it is always a good idea to have disinfecting wipes handy. This makes it easy to disinfect the classroom throughout the day and between the times the school's janitorial service comes in to disinfect. This is a quick way to reduce the spread of germs that can make students and staff very ill.
Dry Ease Supplies
Chalkboards seem to be a thing of the past. They have been replaced with dry ease boards. Teachers and students will benefit from having a steady supply of dry ease markers. Although teachers tend to go through black dry ease markers quickly, it is also good to have a variety of colors too. Having extra dry ease erasers would be a good idea as well. Another item teachers could use is cleaners that are made specifically for dry ease boards. This helps keep the board clean and free of past lessons that may interfere with the current lesson.
Post-its are a great communication tool. Teachers can not only write encouraging notes to students but attach quick notes to send home to the parents. This way it also eliminates waste because instead of using a full size piece of paper for a small note they can use a small post-it.
Donating office supplies can help the teacher throughout the year. Some office supplies to consider donating include paper clips, clear tape, masking tape, sharpies, highlighters, push pins, staples, file folders, and copier paper. Sometimes donating CD-R discs and flash drives are useful as well. Just make sure you check with the teacher on what his or her specific needs may be.
Keeping a classroom organized is essential to creating an environment to maximize learning. Talk with the teacher to see if he or she may need bins, plastic drawer units, pen organizers, or plastic cups. These will help maximize any learn center area.
Ziplock Bags and Envelopes
Some schools have passed a policy that notes may not be sent home in envelopes. This is due to the anthrax power scare generated after 9/11. Other schools still use envelopes to communicate with parents. Talk with your teacher to see which is would be the preferred method.
Some teachers use ziplock bags to portion off manipulatives such as math blocks. Others use it for supplies for learning projects. Many teachers use large gallon ziplock bags to put together reading books per the individual child's level. Consider donating extra gallon bags so there will be plenty throughout the year. Also consider talking with the teacher about switching to a more eco-friendly method, such as reusable grocery bags (pictured on the right) for individual reading kits and offer to donate them.
Again, check with your child's teacher on whether or not he or she needs ziplock bags and what sizes.
For elementary students, stickers can be quite a useful tool. Some teachers have reward charts. Others use stickers to place on graded papers to help encourage students to do better or praise them for a job well done.
Misc. School Supplies
School supplies can dwindle down quickly, so it would be helpful to have spare supplies for classroom use. This also helps other children whose parents may not be able to afford to replenish supplies throughout the year. Some supplies to donate for classroom use would be packs of pencils, crayons, colored pencils, markers, notebook paper, and glue. Other items to consider donating are construction paper, spiral notebooks, notebook paper, binders, 3-prong pocket folders, and red grading pens or pencils.
With most classrooms incorporating the ever-expanding digital age, consider donating extra flash drives and CD-R discs for students as well. Computers are a big part of most classrooms now. In fact, many school supply lists not only have flash drives on the list of what students need but headphones are sometimes on the list as well. Consider donating extra headphones or earbuds. Generally, you can find extra headphones and earbuds at discount stores, such as the Dollar Tree, for only $1.00.
Manipulatives are a great way for children to learn. Some classrooms don't have enough manipulatives to work with. Talk with the student's teacher to find out what manipulatives will be beneficial for that grade level and what the need is. Manipulatives can be pricey for teachers when they have to buy several sets. Even donating extra math flashcards may be helpful in not only your child's learning but in helping others in the classroom improve their math skills.
Many early elementary grades use educational games to re-enforce what they have learned. Teachers also use games for indoor recess when it isn't permissible to go outside for recess. Don't just donate any game. Look for grade-level appropriate games that have education in mind. You can find many games in the areas of English, mathematics, geography, and science.
Do you donate any supplies to classrooms?
These are supplies the teacher uses throughout the year. Again, teachers aren't paid nearly enough so what better way to say thank you for teaching your child than by helping the teacher save money on these supplies.
Always check with your child's teacher to find out what supplies the classroom generally uses. Many times it does vary from teacher to teacher. You wouldn't want to waste your money on supplies he or she doesn't need or use. In fact by talking with the teacher, you might find he or she may have a specific list printed out for parents or companies that wish to help.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 L. Sarhan