I realized only now that I haven't (yet) blogged about the end of the school year for Mister Man. After many of the challenges he faced at his school, we chose to pull him from the Catholic school and enroll him at the public school Little Miss attends. There were many reasons for that - and trust me, I'll post about them at some point - but we were a little nervous about what his experience would be like.
Before the end of the first day, we were fully relieved. Mrs. J, his new teacher, was so welcoming of Mister Man, and she sent me two unsolicited emails during the day to reassure me on well he was adjusting and how happy she was to have him as a part of her class. The rest of the year was better than we ever could have imagined, and my husband and I are kicking ourselves for not having moved Mister Man earlier.
We are so grateful for all she did to help Mister Man - and we jumped on the chance for supporting our teachers. When we started, Mrs. J refused to let us provide any school supplies; she would give him what was needed. This school provides all the supplies the students need after parents pay a flat fee at the beginning of the year, but by the end, many of the supplies are low or running out. How fun for us to be able to give "extras" of quality school supplies (because why give something that won't be useful?) that she can dip into over the next school year?
Even better, school supplies are on sale right now during back to school season, making this the perfect time to collect our donation for Mrs. J. I put Mister Man in charge of what was needed, and we headed to WalMart to purchase items to Bag It Forward for Mrs. J.
When I told Mister Man he was in charge of the shopping list and what we were planning to do for Mrs. J, he was over the moon. It was amazing to me to watch him get so excited about the ability to help someone else. We've done charitable work in the past, but it never fails to surprise me how much the wee ones love doing it. Mister Man carefully wrote out a list of the items that Mrs. J most frequently used and that were running low by the end of the year. It was too cute how he told me that Mrs. J only uses glue sticks because they are less messy but also that they have to be Elmer's to ensure that they work the best.
In the store was no different. Mister Man carefully selected the best items that he thought Mrs. J would appreciate. Wherever he could, he calculated how many items he would need to ensure that every student would be able to have one. I thought it was neat that we could use this as a math lesson for Mister Man to figure out which options were the cheapest (do we buy a 6 pack of Elmer's glue for $1.97 or the 2 pack for $0.50?) and how many we could afford to purchase. He carefully noted the prices of each item and how much we were spending ($1.94 on two packs of markers) on his shopping list and then crossed off each item as it went into the cart.
Once home, Mister Man wrote Mrs. J a note to share what we was doing and how grateful he that he had her as a teacher at the end of the year.
It wasn't expensive to purchase a ton of quality school supplies for her classroom. For 3 packs of pencils, 13 2-packs of glue, 1 package of erasers, 2 packs of dry erase markers, 3 packs of crayons, 2 packs of markers, and 4 pairs of scissors, we spent just over $20. How easy is that? I can only imagine the smile on Mrs. J's face when we present her with all the supplies.
Because this is a gift, we decided to make it look nice. I found a pretty basket with my supplies in the basement, and Mister Man set to work to make everything fit nicely in there. I let him run the show and arrange it how he wanted. It makes me giggle sometimes to see how much my son he is. He had to take each item from the bag and lay it in order on the floor before putting them neatly into the basket.
I was a little concerned that Mister Man would simply toss the school supplies willy nilly into the basket to be done with it. I should have known better. Instead, he worked the basket like a puzzle to ensure that every back to school item we had purchased would fit nicely into the basket.
Once he finished, Mister Man just had the biggest grin on his face. He loved that he was able to make a difference so easily. And that's the point. It really is easy. How many teachers and students do you know who would appreciate a donation of quality school supplies? Something always runs out or is forgotten. And with back to school sales on right now, it's the perfect time to add a little something extra when you go shopping for your school supplies.
And what better was to get ready for the first day of school? Oh, wait. There's another way to get ready for that momentous occasion. Elmer's has created the 1st Day app (and website) that is designed for parents and teachers to capture and share the milestones and other "firsts" for their children. Unlike programs such as Instagram, it's focused just on parents and the photos are shared much more narrowly. You can create custom keepsakes with quotes or captions to help you remember why those moments were so special, too.
My favorite part, however? For every photo uploaded via the 1st Day app, Elmer's will donate a product to the Kids In Need Foundation, up to 200,000 products. What a neat way to capture those memories and for teachers to be able to share with parents what they're doing in the classroom to journal the year!
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the Collective Bias(tm) Social Fabric(r) Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias(tm) and Elmer's, and all opinions remain my own. #CBias #SocialFabric #BagItForward