With some teachers requiring a laundry list of back-to-school supplies, parents need to find easy and accessible ways to store it al
“I love color coding and labeling, and each child has a place to keep things,” says Jeanette Campo of Ridgefield, a preschool art teacher at St. Mary School in Ridgefield and a mother of three children, Alyssa, 15; Anna, 12; and Landon, 9. “Find what works for your child and make them a part of it,” says Campo, who corrals her children’s supplies together on a bookshelf. Cubbies, bins, and other containers are delineated for specific items, such as paper, pencils, math tools, and Post-its.
“Having a place that holds all the supplies and is accessible to the kids is best, and allows them to be more independent,” says Campo. “As a teacher and a mom, one of our biggest goals is to help our children become more responsible. Being organized is one of the best ways to develop this.” Acknowledging that keeping school materials neat is a skill and it’s important to teach children how to do it, Campo gives extra attention to each of her children as they develop these life skills. “I spend more time checking things and pop into class after school every now and then to clean out and help re-organize the school desk when they’re younger. With a little extra time devoted to this early on, back to school will be easier each year.”
Kindergartener Anabella Sousa, 6, of Danbury, kept supplies at school in her desk, but her mom, Monica, set up a desk area at home with bins to separate crayons, pencils, and paper. Bags on the side stored Anabella’s workbooks, coloring books, and art supplies. “Being a kindergartner we had to remind her if she took items away from the desk she needed to put them away,” Monica Sousa says. “At school she was responsible for keeping her desk organized. At home she does the same, however; she can forget to put away her scissors after using them so we remind her to put things back where they belong so she knows where they are the next time she needs to use them.”
Anabella also has a special folder for any school notices and completed work. “I’m sure as she gets older she’ll outgrow her small desk area and will need a bigger area.”
When she was a student, Lauren Muller, 25, of Norwalk, recalls using a folder with pockets to hold projects and notes from teachers. “I always knew where to find anything that was of particular importance. However, sometimes, these papers fell out. A closed folder or pocket may have been more productive,” says Muller. Now a third grade teacher at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, Muller finds a zippered homework pouch is effective. “It’s almost impossible to miss and students are required to pack all of their homework and important notes to parents in here. Making students accountable for their belongings is one of the best ways to keep everything organized,” she says. As a teacher, Muller feels it’s beneficial to provide students with classroom spaces to keep track of their supplies. “Using desks, reading binders, project binders, and shelves, I can keep track of student work while allowing students to provide their own organization.”
Muller encourages parents to help their child develop a work space at home to arrange supplies and practice school work. “They need to feel a level of comfortability with their work space for them to actually use it and not resent it,” Muller says. “Build that sense of ownership from the start. By providing this space at home, students have a place to practice the type of organization provided to them at school.”