SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Keep School Supplies Simple

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For many children getting school supplies is the best part of going to school! A few years ago, on the first day of school, Amanda, was so proud of her big box of 64 crayons. Very quickly pride turned into panic when I asked her to "make a circle with your red crayon." "Mrs. McCarthy" she said, as her lip started to quiver, "I have so many 'reds' in my box, that I don't know which one to use!" Amanda was simply overwhelmed by her number of choices.

My best advice to parents is to keep school supplies simple! Many teachers send home a list of supplies before the beginning of school. For those who didn't receive a list from their child's teacher I suggest these basic items for kindergarten or first grade:

  • Three sharpened pencils, with erasers
  • A small box of crayons, containing no more than 16 crayons
  • A small container of glue, or a glue stick
  • A child-sized pair of scissors
  • A pencil box to keep supplies organized and handy


Additional helpful items other than school supplies are:


  • A lunch box and favorite snack for snack time
  • A pocket-size pack of tissues
  • A backpack that is not too heavy or oversized for your child to carry everyday
  • A small container of hand sanitizer


Please don't forget to label the inside of backpacks, lunch boxes, raincoats, jackets, etc. with your child's name. For safety reasons, never place your child's name on the outside of a backpack or any other items. You do not want strangers to know your child's name.



#2 s bielan 2009-10-24 00:36
good advice, i should have read this one in september :-)
#1 Lisa Cartolano 2009-09-27 15:18
I recently posted a similar article about simplifying school supplies, at:


Hope it helps!

Lisa Cartolano

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