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The Kindergarten "Preparedness List"

I enrolled my daughter up for kindergarten and the school handed me a "list" of things to bring to openhouse night. Seriously, $64 worth of stuff for her, with a note that added "please label ONLY the scissors, pencil box and mat." Can they actually tell us what to bring and who else will be using my daughter's stuff if I shouldn't label all of it hers? The whole paper gave me a bad taste in my mouth!

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Thanks so much to everyone that responded. My eyes are truly open to the public school system ways now. Like I mentioned, my daughter will be going to kindergarten, thus my first experience with it. I was unaware of how little the funding is and how much teachers go through to get these kids learning. I really appreciate all of you who were simply to the point and said,"just get what you can". This list was so long, and asked for brand-name supplies. These brand-names I don't even use in my own house because of our budget. I definitely am volunteering in her class, just as I always have and now that my eyes have been opened I will help buying extras throughout the year. Thanks again Moms!

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My son started public school two years ago. He is going into 2nd grade and my daughter is starting Kindergarten. All I can tell you is it has been this way for a long time and many people complain about it but it is unlikely to change.
As I understand it, part of it has to do with not embarrassing children who parents can't afford supplies. I think part of it is a storage issue as well. It is easier for the kids to get pencils, paper and glue sticks from a central location than to store everyone's separately.
I decided to pick my battles and this is not one of them so I grin and bear it. I think that as they get into the upper grades more of the stuff you buy stays "theirs".
Hang in there.

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I hae to say I agree with you. My sons pre K list is ALL general classroom use supplies, NOTHING for him personaly to use. I think it is a lot to ask parents to supply dry erase markers, copy paper, and other sanitizer sprays for the teachers use.

The whole class will be using it. Sometimes they put a few crayons in a community box, which they share, as well as other school supplies. If you need to know, ask the teacher. Some places ask for copy paper, toilet paper, hand soap, even cleaning supplies. Welcome to the school system.

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Ok, so I read through all the responses first before I decided to post. I am an elementary school teacher and a mom of two. Some people had very good points and some were just very angry. Remember, there are always two sides to every story. Teachers have valid points as to why they ask for what they do and parents have valid points as to why they can't buy it all. You can find a compromise - don't be angry, schedule a time to talk to the teacher. Most are VERY willing to work things out and explain their points to you. I can only speak for myself, as I know everyone does things differently.

Personally, I have to pay for daycare for my two children in order to return to work. They both have late birthdays so will pay an extra year for both. For example, I will pay $190 per week for my daughter. Sounds like a lot, but when you break it down by hour and consider there are only 4 children in her class per teacher, not so much. A hot breakfast and lunch, as well as a snack are provided. I need to feel she is in a safe place. Plus, her place follows a school calendar and uses themes each week. Even the infants participate in arts and crafts as soon as they can sit up and make things with assistance - maybe fingerpaint. When I look at all she does in a week, then the $190 isn't so much. I understand times are tough right now and so people are tightening their purse strings. We all do what we have to when tough times arise. You're probably thinking that I should just stay home. Would if I could, even though I am paying all that $$ for daycare, I am the one who provides our families health insurance. My husband is self employed and can't get the coverage we have for the amount I can - even with all the other expenses.

I have been at three types of schools during my career. Each year there is a list compiled for supplies - as stated earlier, these are to help the teacher, help your children to learn to their maximum potential. Yes, we get supply money to spend, but it has to be through the catalog. I know I have $150 to spend for 18 children for a whole year. In that $$ I have to purchase copy paper, as I have to copy a lot of my curriculum. That is one way that cutbacks were made - not enough books for each student. A case of paper, even with the discount, is $35. I really only copy just what I need and I still need two cases per year = $70 from my $150. I also have to purchase laminating film and that is about $35 for a roll. So you see, though $150 sounds like a lot, it doesn't go as far as I would like. And yes, for those moms who say they aren't paying for that stuff, it is used for your children.
I do hit sales for items myself - I try to buy sets of items for those who can't - that is $ that comes from my personal pocket and away from my own children. Teachers have jobs that are pretty safe from the recession, however, we are not getting rich by any means. We usually teach because we like the job, not the money, but we all have families too that we provide for.
I know in my class that I collect supplies because I use a lot of them in community tubs. If all children put ALL of their supplies in their desk at the beginning of the year, by January most of it is gone. Plus, what child isn't tempted to play with all their supplies when they get them - new pencils always need sharpening, etc. :>) I have taken supplies simply to save them for the child, so the parent isn't buying more later, because the children are so preoccupied with playing with them. I know not all children are that way, but remember, you have one or two at home, we have a class full that we are responsible for and are trying our best to meet the needs of ALL of them.
I really am saddened by the tone of most of the posts you have gotten. As parents, you are your children's first teacher, we come second. Wouldn't it be in your child's best interest if we could ALL work TOGETHER to provide the best for your child instead of all this anger and accusations ? I'm not pointing fingers at anyone specifically, but some parents do feel that the teacher should handle a lot more responsibilities than we do. We only have them a short amount of time during the day. For example, I never used to, but now I have to teach manners as far as hand washing, blowing noses, covering mouths, etc. Things that are basic manners and should really come from the home. For example, I know that teachers ask for kleenex because of how MANY children use at once. Yes, we want them to have the supplies, but my class of 18 went through an entire box of 200 BEFORE lunch time! THus, we had a lesson about using a tissue and blowing our nose. I'm really not trying to complain, I do love my job. I just wish that parents could spend just ONE WHOLE day in a classroom to get a better understanding of what goes on. Then see if their is a way to work together with the teacher.
I will say that I thought the price of your list was excessive. Did you shop for sales ? Most people don't realize that as it gets closer to school starting, the prices will go down. OR stores will pick certain items one week for a sale and different ones the next week. Yes, it's a pain to make multiple trips but if you really want to save.......A lot of teachers I know do it.
Please, talk to your child's teacher. If you really can't afford the list, ask what is essential for the first week or so. See if you can slowly send in items as you can afford them. Like it or not, children can be mean. They will make fun of those who don't have or who have different. I know in life not everyone has the same, but it can be really hard when you are only 5 years old to accept being different.
I'm sorry for going on and on. Like another mom stated, I too, want what's best for my own children as well as those in my class that become like my children for the year I teach them. No one is perfect, everyone can tell a negative story, please try to find a positive and middle ground that works for you, your child, and the teacher. I know, there are some "dooozies" out there - it happens in all jobs. Try to give this teacher a chance until he/she gives you reason to feel otherwise.
On a side note, magnet schools can offer good opportunities. At the elementary age, Kindergarten is usually not part of the program, but the children receive the same benefits if the school is all magnet. Magnet programs usually start at first grade.

Best of luck to you! Hope you have a pleasant year and can find some middle ground for your concerns.

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As a teacher, I can tell you that the main reason we don't want labels is it is way too time consuming for a kid to find their own things and to keep track of them. Also, some of our papers the kids need a specific color for. For example, color all the math problems that add up to 3 red, color all the 4's blue, etc. What if you child has lost a color or two? You'd end up with her asking you to buy her new crayons. If we share it doesn't matter if one kid (and it could be YOURS) lost blue. I get 100 dollars for the year for supplies but that also has to cover copy paper, construction paper, paint, dry erase markers, plus "office supplies" like tape, staples, rubber bands, paper clips, pens, etc that we do not ask parents for. I usually start watching the sales about now and stocking up for the kids who can't purchase their own supplies. This I pay for out of my own pocket since our supply money does not come through until school starts and all the good sales are now. Staples and Office Depot will even have items for 1 cent. This week was notebook paper for a penny at Staples. Keep your eye on the ads.

Also, some things would just be hard not to share. I don't have room for 20 separate boxes of tissues in the room.

We are also teaching the kids about sharing and waiting their turn if 2 or more kids need to use the glue, they learn to cooperate.

If you can't afford the supplies, send what you can. I plan on and always end up subsidizing in my classroom so anything you CAN send is a help.

I am really saddened by most of the responses you have received so far. Teachers typically ask for what they need and use to be able to teach. It's not like we ask for the stuff to sell on some school supply black market or to stock up some mystery cabinet of stuff to keep from the kids.
Also, there ARE kids whose parents truly can't afford supplies and personally I don't think the kids should suffer because of this. I buy extra every year for kids who don't have supplies. It is sad that I seem to be alone in this way of thinking!!!!!

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Welcome to school! They can't make you bring the stuff in, but because parents bring the items they do, the children have the supplies they need. The items labeled with your childs name will stay with your child, the other items usually go into general supply.

Last year when my grandaughter walked into her new class, the pencils, crayons, etc were already at her desk. She enrolled after orientation and was not able to bring the supplies until the first day. The supplies she brought were put into general supply for replenishment during the year.

In this economy consider yourself lucky you can provide these things for your child, and think of the parents who can't. Most of all, bless the teachers who have to pay for these supplies out of their own pockets when the parents can't/don't, as the schools provide none/very few of these supplies.

My now five year old daughter is in ESE classes, her first year the supplies were $125 for pre-K! I grumbled at home, but after spending a little time in her class and seeing what else they needed I went and bought other items to donate. I did the same thing her second year of pre-K, and I anticipate I will do the same for this year despite the fact we are financially stressed. How much is enriching your child's education worth to you?

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The preparedness list is handed out to help the teacher, help your daughter, learn to her maximum potential. Unfortunately even though you pay taxes to send your child to school the budget does not include enough. A teacher spends approximately $500- $1000 out of their own pockets ( which are not overflowing) to help equip the students to learn with the tools they need. Especially in kindergarten it is as important as learning to read and write to function in a social environment which includes learning to share supplies as well as build community in the classroom. The sharing of supplies is one way that kindergarten teachers create a loving, nurturing community in their classrooms. When there is an attitude of "this is our classroom and everything in it belongs to all of us" it helps to create a community of responsibility and care. The teacher usually doles out the supplies as he/she teachers the students to correctly use these instruments and restocks as they become low. The teacher also uses specific supplies to reinforce different skills in the classroom. I know you see it as a burden but it is all to enhance your child's learning experience and help the teacher who only wants to help your child grow and learn in a safe friendly environment.

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I have 4 children and the oldest two are in school. The younger two are still home this year, but we'll be starting kindergarten next year with my 3rd. I understand your frustration, but I know so many teachers that spend loads of their own money on supplies for their classrooms. All those little paper cut-outs on the walls that make class visually stimulating. Art supplies. Even painting their own classrooms and fixing their own desks and chalkboards. They spend a lot of time as well. They're there early in the morning to late in the evening and then they bring work home so they don't fall behind. Parents providing supplies for the classroom to run just takes a little bit of burden off of their backs. As the other moms said, look for sales. There are lots of stores offering buy one get one free or even get two free. Penny sales, etc. You can stock up for well under $64 and buy those kinds of things when they're super cheap, store them in a little closet in your house so you'll have a jump start on the next year.
You can choose to be upset about the situation or you can see it as you helping out multiple people in the process. Teachers, the parents of children who can't afford supplies, etc. Go with a happy heart and watch the transformations that great teachers can have on a child. It's totally worth the cost of school supplies!

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I know how you feel. When my girls were little and we moved here from Michigan the first thing I got was the dreaded list. I was in shock. In Michigan they don't even ask for pencils. At least at that time they didn't. I ate soup for two weeks to be able to fill the things on the lists. I thought well this is for my daughters futures so I have to do it. Two weeks later my youngest daughter came home with another list. Again I did without to fill the list. Finally I got mad and asked her where her stuff was going. She said they are learning to share. About that time the older one came home with another big list. I went to the school to find out what was going on with all this stuff. Come to find out a lot of the parents do not fill the needs on the list. That is why the list is so extensive. And the part that really made me mad was it wasn't the ones that couldn't afford to do it not doing it. It was the ones with money that were not filling the list. I found this out because my daughter pointed out the children she had to share with. I confronted some of the Moms at the PTA meeting. I mean I was not nice about it at all. I basically ended up yelling at them about how cheap and thoughtless they were. Here I was a single Mom struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over my daughters heads and they were loaded and just didn't take the time to fill the lists.
One Mom felt so guilty she ended up paying all the others childrens fees for the classroom trip.
So I say NO if you can't afford to fill the list just tell the teacher you can't do it all. Get what your childs name goes on and maybe a couple other things on the list. Teachers go over board on these lists. A lot of the stores give teachers discounts for school supplies. It would make more since for them to ask for money and use their discount. Also everything they purchase for classroom use is tax free. Do what you feel it right. As for me I always filled the list even though I couldn't afford to.
There are a lot of children that go to school in need of good clothing, shoes, etc...I took everything my daughters out grew to the school. Everything was handed out as needed to needy students. And not only that they use these clothes for children that have accidents while at school instead of them having to call the parents and send them home. At Christmas time is a great time to donate dress clothes. Christmas dresses, little boys suit coats, etc....
And shoes that they have out grown that are still in pretty good shape. You would be surprised at how many children need these things and the school makes sure they go to the students that need them most....
Some schools will even take educational toys...

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Hi there,
I am a mother of three AND a teacher. I will have to buy supplies for each of my children's classrooms and my own. I teach in a low income neighborhood and we are not allowed the luxury of asking our parents for supplies. We do get a stipend at the beginning of the year but I have to use mine for copies and laminating throughout the year... maybe I have enough left over for a couple of packs of construction paper or scissors for the class. I teach 3-5 year olds and it is too bad when we do not have enough supplies. Sometimes I have just one pack of markers for a table of 6 kids and when 3 of them want to use red it is an issue and even worse if the cap of the red marker was not closed properly and now is dried out. I personally have to invest my money into the classroom to update my centers (math, reading, writing, science, dress up, blocks, kitchen - it is not fun to play in the science area when there is nothing there)... all you mommies, if all of this aggravates you as much as you all say, I say don't punish the teachers, tell your government to properly fund our schools! We have a right to "free" public education for our children and as you can see, it is not free. Other ways that a parent can help is "silent" fundraisers such as soup labels and box tops for education (every little bit helps!) Get together with another parent and write a grant for your child's class. If you know someone that has a successful business, and you can get them to adopt your child’s classroom (it is a tax write off for them) the school will advertise the business's support in some way and you will not have to feel as though you have to donate as much.
Sorry C. to be on my soap box but as a mommy AND a teacher, I want the best for all of my children and without the support of everyone, the government will keep wasting our money and continue to take it away from our schools. To me, it takes money away from my family, hurts my effectiveness as a teacher and is just plain sad.

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I was a public school teacher so I know how little money we get for supplies and how much we spend out of our own pockets... so I can sympathize.... However, as a parent, I figured out several years ago what to do about supplies for my own kids. I take a look at the list that's given and I decide which things I will and will not be buying. For example, if it says 2 sets of markers, I know that means one set is for my child's pencil box and the other goes to the supply closet, so I just buy one set. I have my child open the boxes of pencils, markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc and put them into his/her pencil box. Actually, most years my kids had crayons and colored pencils left over in their pencil box from the year before so I just buy fresh markers and pencils. If it says to buy several packs of paper, I send them with one pack and keep the rest at home. I do stock up on some supplies while the sales are good, but I keep them at home in MY storage closet. If my own kids need fresh supplies throughout the year, they can take from OUR supply closet. On the other hand, any time the teacher needs supplies, I will send them in occasionally because I do know there are families who truely can not afford to buy supplies for their kids. In lower income areas, the schools often get tons of donations from various charities and people in the community, but at an average school in an average community like the one we live in, lower income families are often over looked for assistance, mainly because the parents are too embarassed to ask for help. ANYWAY... sorry to go on and on... Decide what you WANT to buy from the list and don't feel like you need to drop $64 all at once. I never buy the wipes or ziplock baggies or other extras on the list, but I buy extra boxes of tissues for my son's class because he has allergies and I know he uses a lot.

You can either watch the sales and spend way less than $64 and stock up your own closet now (seriously, glue is 2 for a dollar at Publix right now, but closer to the start of school, Target will have it for TEN for a dollar!).... or you can wait until the meet-the-teacher day and find out what your child's teacher's priorities are and just buy those items for the start of the year. The list is often compiled by a group of teachers or one lead teacher so it may not be everything your own child's teacher really cares about.

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I’ve read the comments and it’s quite interesting to see both sides of the situation. My daughter is going into VPK and I had a list, but was instructed to label everything. And after reading these comments, when I get the list in years to come, I will buy everything. It kills me to hear “I’m not paying for another child’s paper, books etc”. Okay then, by that same argument, I can say that those people in your community, who either don’t have children or whose kids are still too young or graduated from high school, should have their taxes reduced. It’s only “fair”, right? Why should their taxes go towards schools when they’re not getting the benefit from it.

Hello folks – good schools benefit EVERYONE! Schools educate our youth, which the last time I checked grow up to be the adults of society. So yeah, if spending an additional 10 bucks on school supplies will help out another child with their education, then we are ALL the better for it!!

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My son started public school two years ago. He is going into 2nd grade and my daughter is starting Kindergarten. All I can tell you is it has been this way for a long time and many people complain about it but it is unlikely to change.
As I understand it, part of it has to do with not embarrassing children who parents can't afford supplies. I think part of it is a storage issue as well. It is easier for the kids to get pencils, paper and glue sticks from a central location than to store everyone's separately.
I decided to pick my battles and this is not one of them so I grin and bear it. I think that as they get into the upper grades more of the stuff you buy stays "theirs".
Hang in there.

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My son will be starting kindergarten this month also and I too was shocked by some of the things that were asked. Things such as 3 reams of paper, tissues, baby wipes, etc! But like everyone said, I know the budget is not there for these supplies. I still am very possessive and labeled some of the items I bought. I can now see from many of the responses, that this won't matter.
Of course, on the top of each list says it's a "suggested" list of supplies. So when on the list it asked for 12 (yes, 12)Elmer's jumbo glue sticks, I did not get the brand name (brand name is almost 2 dollars per tube!) Target has their brand on sale for 50 cents per tube. I figure 12 tubes of Target brand is better than buying only 4 Elmers brand because I cannot afford that much. Glue is glue, right?
My main strategy to help save money was this: I put everything I needed to buy on an Excel spread sheet and everytime I bought something I would put where I bought it in one column and the price I paid in another column. Then I keep the receipts in a pile in one location. Each week I have been scanning the ads, and I also carry the list with me so if I am somewhere and I see something is on sale, I compare it to what I already paid and if I paid $2.00 for washable markers one week and now I see another store has it on sale for $1.50, I will buy the sale item and then return the other one at the original store. It requires a bit of extra work, but so far for my son in Kindergarten and my other child starting VPK, I have only spend about $30 to $32.00 total.

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all the responses were so negative. I always thought of it as this way- they don't want you to label because the boxes of crayons do go into a communal bin and the children learn to share. I was a little shocked at how much they ask you to bring to class, but you are welcome to reuse items from last year. I also stock up when school supplies are on sale, and i would much rather spend my money on supplies the classroom needs (my childs classroom). so that I know my child is has a pleasant wll stocked classroom so the school can spend their money on other things such as teacher salaries etc. There has been a huge money crunch in our school lately and they are may drop art & music and wouldn't you rather spend money for your child's classroom and that money the school didn't have to spend for supplies can give you child a chance to do art this year? The supplies for school should not be thought of as your daughter's stuff so much as supplies for your daughter's classroom!

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Hi C.

I know it's frustrating I just spend $146 on school supplies for my 3 kids. I have one going into grade 4 and her supply list was the longest I have seen. My son is going into grade 2 and his supply list was average. There were the pencils, erasers, markers, crayons etc. and of coarse the 2 reams of 500 paper for each of them. My youngest is going into pre K4 and she has a list as well. I went to Target and they have alot of thing on sale. I got crayons for .25 cents and markers for $1.00. So you can find some great bargins. I know each year it's going to get even more expensive, but we are the lucky ones. I know there are families who can't afford these things for their kids. Every year when Publix has bags of school supplys I always buy at least one to send to our school. Publix has the bags labeled with the school name and what grade it is for and whats in the bag. This year I have become the president of the PTA. I have teachers telling me they do not have money in the budget to perchase work books for each of the class rooms. These are the work books that the kids write in like math and language. We can't copy them, because of the copy right law. So we have to have a fund raiser as soon as we are back to school. So any of you parents out there are tired of these fund raisers like I am please remember this is all for a good cause YOUR CHILDREN. If you are not sure what they are raising money for ask, better yet get involved. This year we are telling everyone with each fundraiser what it is for. I think you will all understand where the money is going to. I know we are in tough times, so donate,or purchase and help what or where ever you can. Every little bit helps. The best thing for everyone to help their kids school is to get involved. Volunteer if you can, ask your childs teacher what you can do to help. Even if you work there is always something you can bring home and do it from there. Sorry to be on my soap box, but I see what the teachers are going through, we need to help them, so they can help your child. Good luck to everyone who's kids are going to school this year.

C. :)

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Unfortunately, this is the sad state of our school system. It's not the school or the teachers' faults so don't hold it against them. There isn't enough funding for enough teachers or programs (art, music, PE) let alone for classroom supplies. If parents don't help with these supplies, the teacher is forced to either go without or pay out of their own pocket for expenses. I had a friend who was a teacher (she no longer is one) and she said on the first day of school, she was given a box of chalk and an eraser - nothing else. She was given a budget of $120 for the ENTIRE school year for other expenses and had to provide all receipts to get her money.
Most class supplies go into a common pot for all students to share. Even these will not cover everything the teacher needs and most likely he/she will still pay out of pocket for a lot of things.
If you shop the sales you can save a lot, though. I know Office Max has penny paper, rulers, folders, etc. this week. Publix had 33 cent crayons a few weeks back and even Target had 25 cent crayons. All said, as much as I resent the state of our state's school system, I consider it a small price to pay to help out our overworked and underpaid teachers.
Another way to help out your teacher is to go to adoptaclassroom.com. You can find your child's classroom and donate any amount to it. The teacher gets 100% of the funds to spend on classroom supplies.

Good luck this year.

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Walmart has good prices on many items right now - box of 24 crayola crayons @ 27 cents...etc. If you can't afford all the stuff, just get what you can. I always buy extra to supply the students in my class whose families aren't in a place to supply it. I wish the schools could afford to fund it all.
They really do share the supplies in kindergarten, and not labeling it makes for a great deal less disagreeing and a lot more fun and learning for your child. I hope your family has a wonderful experience with your child's first year in school.

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This is pretty much the standard way all schools do it now, not like when we were kids and you kept your own supplies at your own desk. Some schools even put brand requirements on school supplies now, like they HAVE to be Crayola crayons.

I really don't think you can do anything about it, but if you can afford it, try not to let it bother you too much. It really is in all our best interest for ALL the kids to have the supplies they need.

If you really can't afford it, talk to the teacher and find out which items are most needed, and spend what you can on those.

I think the teachers are trying to get parents to buy supplies that the school does not supply. I can't blame them; teachers have been known to buy supplies out of their own pocket. But who can afford 64 dollars of school supplies? I know Matt used his binder folder, scissors, crayons, pencils, and markers. I vaguely remember the teacher asking for ziplock bags and tissues, binders, etc. I didn't buy those items, I didn't think they were necessary. I just bought things for his personal use. I don't think it hurts to wait to see what exactly she needs. You could also ask the teacher what she needs the other supplies for and ask if that is something that can be provided later on IF necessary.

Unfortunately, many people choose to vote for things that lower taxes or give them a tax break which result is less funding, larger classes, fewer schools, reduced bus system. In Pinellas, Amendment 1 was voted in and saved the average homeowner $200,BUT what most voters did not know is that the loss of revenue would mean cutting public services that families had grown to enjoy/need such as school budgets, public safety, community services such as rec centers, parks etc With these types of things voted in by the public it means less services.... Public school is what it is, public, and funded by the people through government. Unfortunately it's all many families can afford, and even though families utilizing the public school system may have to spend a little more on supplies or gas (transporting their own kids), it's a SMALL price to pay for a quality education. The more supplies are available to each kid, tissues and paper towels are in the rooms, etc the less stressful is the teachers day and the more capable the teacher is to teach and spend all day with the children. If parents don't like having to pay for supplies in a sort of 'use-tax' form of a system then an alternative would be to keep them at home and teach them at home. Maybe the FLVS (Florida Virtual School) is a better fit as well??

As a former kindergarten teacher I understand where the school/teacher is coming from about all the supplies. In my classroom I use to put everything together in tubs on the tables. It is too hard to keep track of who brought what. There is not enough time in the day to pass out items to students with their names on them. I understand how expensive it is. When I was a teacher I used to spend $500-$1000 of my own money for classroom supplies each year. Dollar Tree stores usually have the supplies you need. Target also has great deals. If you can't buy it all now wait until it goes on sale. I hope your daughter has a great kindergarten experience. I loved teaching kindergarten and gave it up to be home with my son. I miss it at times, but love being with my son on a daily basis.

I know how frustrating these school lists can be. I have one starting kindergarten and one starting middle school (now that's a list). Usually, I would buy everything on the list(s). But last year when the school provided a list and then I got an individual list for the classroom in addition to it, plus a request for $14 toward class supplies,that was more than I could take. I know that others cannot afford all those supplies, and the extra helps provide for those who can't. But the parents were asked to supply 5 folders and 5 spiral notebooks of each of 5 different colors. Now, that is 25 folders and 25 notebooks. For what? I supplied five of each all one color and told the teacher that when my son needed more to let me know and I will be happy to provide it for him. She never asked me for anything. In fact, at a conference in the middle of the year, she showed me the back room which was filled with stacks of school supplies from this class. There was so much stuff that I was very happy that I did not provide it all for nothing. After all, it isn't like they return any of it even if their name is on it. They just cross it off and use it for someone else.

I probably never would have questioned it had I not met a Mom who never bought school supplies for her daughter. It got me thinking about what all those supplies are really going for. This mom could afford it much more than I , but chose not to and yet it was all covered by the surplus from the other parents who all thought that they were providing for their own kid.

I have no problem providing for my kid and then paying a small fee to help with what the class may need. Unfortunately, I am in no position to pay for a whole class full of supplies. I doubt many of us are.

I wish I could say it gets better.

I know the feeling and yes the stuff you bring supplies the whole class. I have gone through this for 12 year six for each of my sons. Some parents do not send anything so the ones that do supply the entire class. I am not sure why but this will happen until about 7th grade.


Hi, yes i do understand where you are coming from. My daughter is now in 5th grade, and every year i wind up spending well over a hundrend and it does frustrat me. i have learned over the years that they do just throw all the pencils and paper and other items in a bin and who ever needs they take from it. The teachers say that some parents can afford more while others cant, so it evens it out.. just do what you can. this year we are buying just what we can for our daughter and nothng extra. Also please keep in mind that they do put more on there then needed so if you have to buy one less tissue box then dont worry about it. Hope this helps.

Hi I remember thinking the same thing when my daughter was in Kindergarten but after I volunteered, I realized how they deal with the supplies. Usually, they have the crayons, glue etc in a bin on the table where 4 kids usually sit. Sometimes they divide the colors up and have a cup of red, blue etc. The kids share everything. There is no need for labeling. In first grade, you will label most everything bc they have their own desks and use their supplies. Just find the sales and pick up everything you need. I also go when it is all 75% off and get extra for home and later in the year when the supplies are dwindling and damaged. Good luck! It is an exciting year for your whole family!!

ok things like paper, pencils that kinda thing i will but folders and i let my kids pick them out that way they know theirs i also write their names in them. i don't care what the school says. i will not however but things like blank printer paper. that is the school boards job to do. my husband and i struggle just to feed us and the kids so im not buying anything my kids don't use. when my oldest was in 3rd grade they had us buy like 3 packs of paper but when they sent homework home not 1 piece of paper with it. so i quit that i might send in a pack but otherwise the rest is staying at home. it gets ridiculous the things on the list. ok i can see me sending in snacks for my autistic daughter because due to sensory integration issues she will only eat specific things. but to send in a can of coffee no. yes i saw that on a school list one year. they were expecting parents to cover their coffee breaks. i think not when i can't afford coffee for myself half the time. just wait for the classroom list see what the teacher needs, generally much much smaller and is what the class room needs to teach her not what the school feels it need to run that is what we pay taxes for.

Yes, it's ridiculous. This whole public school system, even though we pay taxes for it, does not provide basics.
They asked for paper towels and wipes, kleenex too? They also do not provide lockers or cubbies (some may still) so the students have to tote everything in a backpack that will eventually weaken the spine.
Just get the basics, the crayons/markers, paper pad, but don't fret over the small stuff like kleenex and paper towels. Wait until the year gets off and then gradually purchase what your student needs.
A great lunch box or paper bags that she decorates at home is always fun, too.
And yes, there will be some kid in class who has nothing and will steal or borrow from another. So mark her name on everything.

I am a Kindergarten teacher. Our list is not as extensive and is only 45 dollars worth. We do get money, but we use it for bulletin board items, calendar items, games, chart paper, sentence strips etc. I saved up mine one year to buy a interactive calendar. (schools don't always supply what we need). We use community property because the students lose their items, borrow, take, and it becomes a problem. I use all the supplies I get and usually buy at least $60 more supplies as they run out. I never have enough crayons, glue, markers, pencils and glue sticks.
WIth that said, ask the teacher if she needs everything on the list. We don't make these lists and sometimes would much rather you not buy the manila paper etc. I would much rather have a extra box of crayons then the manila paper :) Teachers spend at least 200-300 dollars of their own money on their class yearly.
Please try to think of these replies from a teacher point of view.

The whole class will be using it. Sometimes they put a few crayons in a community box, which they share, as well as other school supplies. If you need to know, ask the teacher. Some places ask for copy paper, toilet paper, hand soap, even cleaning supplies. Welcome to the school system.

Curious what's on the list for $64. We attend a private school and the supplies needed for my kids other than backpacks, might only add up to about $10 when I shop the sales. What could they possibly want you to bring? Regarding name on things like glue, crayons, I can say from teacher's point of view, so names is simpler. To have to look at names takes longer to pass out. To simply hand out a bottle of glue with no names is better.

I hae to say I agree with you. My sons pre K list is ALL general classroom use supplies, NOTHING for him personaly to use. I think it is a lot to ask parents to supply dry erase markers, copy paper, and other sanitizer sprays for the teachers use.

I can definitely see both sides of the 'coin.' I must have spent $500 setting up my classroom as a new kindergarten teacher years ago. I had a tiny little budget for supplies. However, this year teachers are taking a pay-cut and get NO money for their supplies.... I definitely agree with you that the system is corrupt, but that runs MUCH higher than the actual teachers.... (those tax dollars gets spent on ridiculous salaries for superintendents and 'consultants,' instead of what actually matters..........)

When it's my turn to send my kid off school I will try my best to get as much cheap/free stuff as possible. CVS and Staples had a ton of good deals. (Buy things and get extra bucks back so it's free..........or Staples had penny deals, etc...)Or- you can buy things in bulk (paper towels, etc...) if you have multiple kids or want to pair up with another parent.

As a teacher who has struggled with difficult parents n(most teachers consider this the most difficult part our jobs), I'd say you really need to pick your battles. If you're already up in arms about providing school supplies, most of which are "communal," then you may be in for some more surprises.

I would be concerned about whether or not your child is having a positive, challenging experience at school and don't sweat the small stuff.

My daughter's school does things quite differently than I do, and than I remember as a child, but I remind myself that channelling my negative energy toward her school and teachers may drain me for when I have something positive to share. Have an open mind, there is probably a good reason your child's kindergarten team chooses to do things the way they do.

it's hard!
get involved in the PTA! fundraising can help the classrooms get their much needed supplies!

public school is far from 'free' but it sure is less expensive than private schools! yes you are providing for the whole classroom, but hopefully so are others. If you cannot afford it, then just provide what you CAN afford.

get to know your child's school; find out who coordinates volunteers and sign up! I cannot stress enough how important it is to be INVOLVED.

research all you can, if you're unhappy, about where ELSE you can send your children. research magnet schools:
magnet schools are MEANT to be in not-so-nice areas; that's why they're called magnet schools- they act as a 'magnet' and 'draw' in people/students from outside the school's area/neighborhood. In fact, I doubt you'll find too many magnet programs in 'nice'/'good' neighborhoods...
It is important to look at the PROGRAM, which is *housed* in the school. If there is a well-recognized magnet program that sounds interesting (regardless of where it is geographically), then: call the school, ask to speak with the Magnet Coordinator, and then MEET with her/him and take a LOOK at the program at the school. Students in the Magnet Program don't necessarily 'interact' with the rest of the student body/school. ASK these questions as you LOOK at the program/visit with the Magnet Coordinator at the School. You may just find yourself amazed! There are all kinds of 'hidden gems' in life...

This seems to be the "norm." When my daughter came home one day and said she was out of paper and needed a new package, I questioned what happened to the brand new package I had just given to her. To my surprise, she stated that her teacher took everyones paper and is "sharing" all the paper with the class. This year my second daughter's "list" indicated that she needed something like 10 erasers and 46 pencils...along with a "wish list" from the teacher for the class that included hand sanitizer, band-aids, kleenex, dry erase markers, plates, cups, etc.! I understand that there are people who perhaps are having financial difficulties but seriously, I should not have to supply school supplies for the whole darn class each and every year for each child I have. I have 3 children! School supplies are very cheap right now so I don't understand the difficulty with parents providing supplies for their own children. It's crazy. For kindergarten, my daughter's teacher requested that all supplies be "donated" but at the end of the year, we could not get back the scissors, or pencil boxes. I don't care for this type of system, as it forces me to purchase the same supplies every year. Heck, when I was a child, my mom made me re-use all of my supplies from the previous year so that meant that I had to be extra careful with my belongings. We live in a throw-away society and I can't afford to be throwing anything away. Talk to the teacher and let her know how you feel. Communication is best and it lets the teacher know where you stand.

Here is what they do...EVERYTHING becomes community property...this happens in every grade! If another family decides not to buy the things on the list, then that child uses YOUR child's things..In essence, you pay for the children who do not bring things in. THEN they will ask throughout the year for you to bring even MORE things in. Some teachers require parents to provide a weekly snack for the whole class, as well. And due to not knowing if your home is sanitary, and other legal reasons, these snacks can not be home made. (Some have an exception to this rule, but not many)

A Free education is FAR from free! And it hit a huge nerve with me, also! Especially the fact that *I* was paying for another child that was not my own! (my son did a PreK age 3 and age 4 in a public school)

On the other hand, if the parents do not buy these things for the children, the teacher has to pay out of her own money...to a degree...every teacher is given an allotted amount they can spend on school supply items for the year. Once this is gone, it's up to themselves or the parents to provide these things.

The only reason my child's items were not shared (and I can not prove they really were not) is because he had 7 allergies and needed his own things.

I agree that it should not cost a parent so much to send their child to school. This, among other reasons, is why we are home schooling. My son starts Kindergarten this year, as well.

i wish you luck in the public school system. I hope your experience is better than mine.

That's alot of money for Kindergarten stuff. When mine started last year, our list consisted of crayons, scissors, paper towels, wipes, tissues, and a backpack. I stocked up at Wal Mart on the crayons and glue (that was on there too) and probably cost me less than $20. And we labeled nothing. It was all divvied up by the teacher.

$64 is excessive. Is this a public school??

Ticks me off too. I like my kids to have good quality materials to use (the pencils that the lead is not so soft that you can't see it; and the erasers actually erase and not smear, for example) and composition books with designs they like (my youngest is into animals).. but if they go into a storage closet and are given out to "whoever needs it" and my kid ends up using the items I paid extra for them NOT to have to use, then I am angry. So I feel resigned to buy the cheap (quality) stuff too... even though I don't want to. I've even had a teacher tell me that the reason she wanted everyone using ___ (a particular type of pencil) is so that the kids don't argue over dropped pencils (I suspect it's more envy related, but maybe not). Give me a break. Everyone doesn't have the same advantages (or disadvantages) in this life. That's just the way it is.

I took ALL my sons supplies to school at open house one year (with Sharpie labeling on EVERYTHING), only to find out 2 months later (by complete accident) that my son had been "borrowing" crayons from another student because the teacher had put his supplies up and then said he didn't bring any crayons!!

I don't know what to tell you. I wish I did.

Sorry, but I felt the need to vent, too. You may have hit on a nerve with a lot of mamas out here... if someone knows a solution, we'd love to hear it!

If I may add:
It would make a world of difference to me, if the list were plainly labeled as "must have"s and "extras" in some way. I really am not a scrooge about it, but the way the whole thing is presented makes a difference in how it is perceived. If the teachers are covering for some kids who don't have the means to bring the items in, then having the list say "3 boxes of crayons" doesn't help those kids bring in crayons. What (imho) would be a better approach, would be to say something like: "each child will need:___. If you can provide extras of these items, or any of the following additional items, please do so." The schools might be pleasantly surprised by what the results are. I know that I, for one, like to GIVE, not be demanded of.... It is much easier for parents to swallow the redistribution of the supplies we send in, when it is plainly stated that that is what will happen with them. When my youngest was in K4 and K5, the teachers gave a 'supply fee' amount, and purchased all the items themselves... so that ALL the supplies were the same (pencil boxes, crayon brand/styles, pencils, paints, markers, play doh, folders, etc) were the same. Also, it allowed the teacher to purchase the BIG bottles of hand sanitizer for less $ than all the little ones would have cost when added up. That year was the most relaxed I ever was about getting my kids "supplied" for school.

It is irritating isn't it?

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