Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to Get Free Classroom Materials

Now a days wallets are thin. We I used to not think twice about purchasing before-is now bought on sale.
And I mean a good sale.
I am learning to be a bit more recession chic when I realized people and businesses really do want to help. They just aren't sure how. It's up to us teachers and caregivers to stick together and do the  fancy footwork it takes to give our kids the best experiences. Here are a few tips I have learned.

How to Get Free Classroom Materials
* Make a list of things you need as well as things you want for the classroom. And hand it out to businesses. Let them know who you are and why you are asking. Follow up with a personalized thank you card. Nothing touches people more than a thank you card from the children.

*Then talk to the parents and find out what they do. Ask them about any materials such as paper, drawing materials, etc. that could be used the the classroom. Often times parents see materials thrown away at the job that the children would love-anything from Styrofoam to computer parts.

*Make a list of the businesses in your local area. I had a lumber yard near me one year that gave us bags of free sawdust. The children loved it in the sensory table. Most copy centers or art stores are willing to give scraps of cardboard or shredded paper. A bridal shop gave us tons of gorgeous scrap fabrics. I saved over $250 dollars on paper and fabric one year!

*Buy supplies in bulk from unconventional places. Team up with other schools or day cares and share the cost.

*Don't forget the garages sales or flea markets. Okay, this takes some time to do, but you'll feel so much better spending $5 on mildly used puzzles the $35 on brand new ones. The kids will never know the difference!

*Check with parents about the toys the children have already out grown. When every classroom does this there will be a plethora of toys to choose from. The only caution is if children recognize it as it once being theirs. This can start a, "You have a lot of es-plaining to do, Lucy!" We ask parents box up toys they will donate out of sight for a while before donation it. It truly does help.

    Donations some times means going out and doing the footwork yourself, and with the money you save, you'll feel so much better you did.

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