When we visited Synoid, a new preschool in Chicago, we were met with the usual assortment of toys, desks, and cribs.
But the room we were in was filled with things we never thought we’d need in the first place.
“We have all the items we ever wanted in the world, and it was a dream come true to actually have all of that in the school,” says teacher Sarah Purdy, whose family moved to Chicago from New York six years ago.
We’ve heard a lot about school supplies in the past few months.
A new study from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that teachers spend a staggering amount of time perusing supplies online.
It’s a trend that will be on display at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, which begins Friday in Las Vegas.
The NCES study found that parents spent nearly $4,500 per student on school supplies during the first quarter of this year, with $1,300 spent on items such as desks and crib linens.
There are a lot of things out there to help kids learn, but you have to be careful about what you buy.
In the United States, teachers spend more than $6,000 per year on school-related supplies, and they’re spending that money on supplies like books, iPads, and other items that aren’t typically used in classrooms.
Purdy says that in addition to the items she’s seen at Synoid’s facility, the teacher spends more than a dozen hours per day looking through and checking out other supplies that can be found online.
Purdy points out that teachers are spending their money on materials that arenít usually used in school settings, like paper and pens, so itís understandable that teachers will look through all of those things.
But Purdy cautions against the tendency to purchase items that are not necessary for the classroom.
“[Parents] should have a good understanding of what their child needs and not buy things that aren�t necessary for them,” she says.
“I think parents should be careful, because this stuff is a good thing for them, but it doesn’t make sense if you think it’s a good idea for the child.”
Purdy also cautions that parents should not rush into buying anything.
“I donít know how many teachers have gotten emails from parents saying, ‘I canít use this because my kid is learning this stuff,'” she says, laughing.
“It doesnít work for everybody.
If you are going to buy things, you have the time to look at them, read them, and be educated about whatís in there.
You don’t want to rush into that and buy things.”
We asked Purdy what she thought were the top school supplies she has purchased at Synoids preschool, and the teacher replies with, “a lot.”
She says that for Synoid students, a lot is a given.
Students at Synod’s preschool are taught by a teacher who teaches in Spanish, which helps prepare them for standardized tests.
They are also learning how to read and write in English and French.
Many parents at the preschool also get a variety of other supplies like coloring books and markers.
Although Purdy says she does not own a pencil or a paper, she says that she would buy a book that is made to fit the preschoolerís hand.
Other products include a pencil that can hold pencil sharpeners, an iPad for iPads, a lunchbox for kids to keep them busy, and a computer lab for teachers to use.
In addition to all of these materials, parents have to keep track of what to bring to the school for a variety the kids.
Purdy recommends that teachers and parents use their smartphones to track and track what’s in their school supplies.
“A lot of kids doníT know where they get their supplies, so you have a lot more information on what they get,” she adds.
“Kids really need to learn what is in their supplies.
Itís like a teacher for them.
They can look at the stuff they are given and be like, ‘Oh, I need this for this.'”
If you’re a parent and need to buy school supplies but doníll know where to start, Purdy suggests a variety.
For a little more help, check out our guide to school supplies to help you shop smarter.