To provide an optimal learning environment, your preschool should be well-stocked with the essentials for playing, learning, and more before you open your doors. It is hard enough to start your own daycare business or preschool but these 10 must-have preschool supplies will keep kids actively engaged, facilitate learning through play, and help you create a fun and welcoming educational environment everyone will love.
As you probably know, preschoolers love playing, crawling, sitting, lying, and sleeping on the floor. Comfortable cushions and rest mats will keep kids comfortable and relaxed whether it’s storytime, playtime, or naptime.
Of course, tables and chairs are a necessity for classrooms for kids of all ages. Invest in comfortable, sturdy, quality furniture that’s made especially for toddlers and preschoolers. While the initial cost may be high, you'll want your tables and chairs to last for many years.
Proper storage is essential in any preschool. Daycare shelves, bookshelves, cubbies, and clear storage containers will help keep things neat and organized and make supplies more easily accessible to both teachers and children. Purchasing cubbies that include individual spaces and hooks for jackets and other gear allows each child to have his or her own space for items every day. Preschoolers love to help, and giving them the opportunity to take out and put things away by themselves builds their sense of independence, teamwork and responsibility.
Create a reading area where your preschoolers can enjoy picture books, magazines, and other resource materials for children. Allowing them to enjoy these things on their own or in small groups will help them discover and remember letters, words, and stories. Your reading nook can also serve as the perfect area for group story time.
Little learners love arts and crafts, that’s for sure! Keeping a wide array of art supplies on hand doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Inexpensive items such as crayons, chalk, paint brushes, watercolors, finger paint, construction paper, paper plates, pasta, glue, and scissors give children the tools to create and design countless works of art that you can hang in the classroom or send home to mom and dad. Having a supply of pencils, pens, washable markers, notebook paper, tape, index cards, poster board, erasers, and modeling clay can also help to round out any art supply cabinet. If you can’t afford easels, don’t despair—children can paint using the table or floor just as easily.
Toy blocks and puzzles can help sharpen young children’s motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, and teach them how to creatively solve problems. These toys are not only fun to play with; they can help kids begin to understand more complex concepts such as balance, gravity, sorting, and organization as well. Magnetic letters and numbers are always a hit as well.
Providing a space for children to use the amazing power of their imaginations is vital. Props, costumes, and toys like wooden kitchen sets allow preschoolers to explore real-life scenarios and come up with their own creative play ideas. This type of play can help kids release energy and anxiety and help them work through emotions, which can make the classroom a more pleasant place for everyone!
Setting up an area where preschoolers can explore, sing, and enjoy music is also a must. Provide your kids with different styles of music to listen to and give them simple instruments such as drums, maracas, whistles, and xylophones to experiment with on their own. Exploring a variety of instruments, dancing, and moving to the beat give children a joyful way to learn through exploration.
Teaching kids about nature and science is a blast. Children are naturally inquisitive, and everyday items such as magnets, mirrors, thermometers, rocks, and plants can be used to teach subjects from weather and seasons to nutrition, biology, and gravity. Investing in informative science-based games, books, models, and other materials designed for young children make a hands-on science curriculum more engaging and fun.
Preschoolers love getting outside, and outdoor play promotes activity and fitness, two important elements of helping them stay happy and healthy. Sand and water tables, playhouses, play sets, and simple items such as balls, jump ropes, and sprinklers will have your students jumping for joy.Thinking of opening your own preschool? Start with these essentials, see how it goes, and add or subtract items to fit your students’ individual needs.