Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How To Get Free Art Materials For Preschool

"Look deep into nature, and then you 
will understand everything better."
~Albert Einstein

Most Early Childhood Educators and Parent think ‘Green’ and really don’t realize it. Part of what comes with being green should be saving money.Many of us have mastered this skill already in this economy.
I look for resources I already have access to which are within my community and with my parents.
Paper is a must in any preschool  as well as scrap fabric. A local copy center was glad to give me scrap paper whenever I come in and ask and I occasionally get free paper.
I also know a seamstress who was glad to give me scrap fabric. Almost too glad, I had a bit too much at one point. I was happy to pass it on to other daycare centers in the area and the children made puppets and collages.
The benefits of networking and maintaining these resources for me go far beyond saving money. I have relationships within my community that really mean a lot to me. The children are aware of where the materials came from and we send cards of thanks and appreciation. Businesses start to ask about preschool when I patronize there; and the little ones ask, "when will the nice people give us more stuff so we can make them a present?”
It’s really nice. I suppose this is where Going Green gets personal.
Need a write off? See if your program can do tax deductions.

6 comments:

Jenni said...

Other places to look for paper are printers. These people usually not only have paper but great FUN paper. Once we got sheets of shiny silvery paper that was as reflective as mirrors! It also comes in many varieties of sizes.

Most places are very willing to share their scraps with others; disappointingly, however, I have found that those free carpet squares we used to get and love from the carpet stores now have a cost. They have realized that some people will pay for other people's "trash"...I hope other businesses don't follow suit.

We have a friendly neighbor at one center that comes in (sneaks in if possible) and leaves large bags of "trash treasures" like bottle tops, styrofoam, and ribbon scraps. She likes to remain anonymous, but every once in a while we catch a glimpse of her sneaking stuff in the door.

Barbra Stephens said...

Hi Jenni, So you have paper people, too! Hmmm, Paying for carpet!!! I have some carpet people, This is where our resources come in...I have printed out blank In Kind Forms for a write off for them. I also utilize my parents, someone somewhere has or was bout to purchase flooring or carpet or knew someone who did. I have them ask for squares for my little ones while they are add it. Flooring companies don't say "no" while someone is about to buy a floor.
Sorry that happened to you Jenni.

Barbra Stephens said...

By the way, whoever your secret gift giver is. I think that is so sweet. Have the kids ever left a thank you card for her? Your kids are obviously on her heart...

Jenni said...

Yes, but she never takes the thank yous...absolutely refuses to be acknowledged (which makes it all the more sweet).

We ask parents and I always have a thank you board for parents who donate things. One year I had a big wall with an elephant on it and everyone who brought in a donation or even donated their time to the classroom they got to fill out a peanut and put it in the elephant's bowl (which very quickly overfilled wonderfully). It was great to see all everyone gave us through the year.

Ms. Jessi said...

This is right up my ally! :) We have a couple of places here in the Phoenix area that supply teachers with all sorts of 'treasures'. They simply get them from companies that have overstocks, scraps, going out of business, etc. Companies don't mind the right off of the donations they give! :) What is this In Kind form you talked about?

Barbra Stephens said...

Hi Ms Jessi. I posted a link. See if you can do In Kind forms at your program. They are for tax write offs for those that are reluctant to give free stuff right away. Write offs help in this economy, ya know. Sounds like the companies you have already know how to do the write offs. In Kind is us going to them with a form, a bit more forward approach...but it does work. Check with your school or tax agent if you qualify first. Otherwise one would feel a bit silly...