I have been adjusting to the many changes in my new country and my new school. One major difference is how school supplies are handled. In my school in Michigan, it was required that anything that the students needed be supplied by the school. This included books, paper, crayons, construction paper, instruments, etc. Of course, we certainly did not have enough of many items, so we often put out wish lists, asked for donations, or put forth suggested supply lists. I was fortunate to work in an area where parents were very supportive, and were willing and able to donate these items when requested.
In Australia, each child receives a book list before the start of the year. The book list actually includes all the supplies they are required to have for the year, and has items like pencils, paper, rulers, and pencil sharpeners on it. Parents are also encouraged to pay a small fee toward copying costs, arts and sciences consumables, and other school materials. The teachers put together a list of items they want included on their class list, and they give it to a local bookshop that has been given the contract. The book shop orders all the materials, packs them in boxes, and sells them to the parents. So when students arrive at school on the first day they bring their box of materials. These materials then get doled out throughout the year as needed.
This system has been an interesting learning curve for me. I love the idea of being able to create a specific list of items that my students will need. Unfortunately for me, this year I did not get to make my list. As a new staff member, they just ordered for me what the other teachers typically get for their classes. Of course this makes sense, but I am finding already that I wish I could have made different selections.
I do find that the kids have a better respect for the supplies here. I think they understand that their parents purchased them, and that there is not a limitless supply. I love that caps almost always get put back on glue sticks without a thousand reminders!
How are school supplies managed where you are? If you had the opportunity to put together a list of required supplies for purchase, what would you include?