- Books. Visit your local library when it is having a book sale. You can usually buy books for just a few dollars. Some branches sell books all the time; others sell books only on occasion. This is a way to add to your classroom collection without worrying about due dates or fines.
- Online Videos. Whether you and the children want to watch pandas at the National Zoo (http://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/giantpandas/default.cfm) or you are looking for ideas for teaching science (www.exploritorium.edu/webcasts/index.php), take a few moments to watch something new.
- Digital library of teacher resources. Access reading materials and multimedia resources through the PBS Digital Learning Library (www.pbs.org/teachers/dll).
- Freecycle. Everything available through www.freecycle.org is free! Check the site to see if there is a group in your area. You need to join to view listings of available items or to post a listing, but joining is also free. Members offer lightly used items of all kinds-clothing, books, furniture, and so on. The purpose is to reduce waste while sharing resources in the community. You will have to pick up items you want. More information is available online.
- Traveling materials. The National Park Service offers traveling trunks of items connected to different national parks throughout the country. (see www.nps.gov/learn/trunks.htm). Museums frequently have materials related to their collections that they will lend to programs.
- Music. Use a free, online radio web site like Pandora, to play different types of music. You can create your own channels based on artists or genres and easily switch among them. For classical music, check out the children's web page for the Dallas (www.dsokids.com) or San Francisco )www.sfskids.com) symphony.
- Discounts. Several national chains offer discounts to teachers. They include A.C. Moore, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Borders, Half Price Books, Jo-Ann, Lakeshore Learning, OfficeMax, and Staples. NAEYC members receive a 20% discount on hundreds of books, videos, brochures, and posters int he NAEYC catalog and reduced subscription fees for Highlights High Five, a magazine for preschoolers.
- Paper. Ask local print shops for scraps, which they often give away at a very low price. Contact community businesses to see if they can donate outdated letterhead or envelopes for the children to use.
- Art Materials. By March, stores are looking to get rid of calendars for the current year. You can find ones You can find ones with animal or nature photographs or fanciful illustrations. Cut off the month portion and paste the illustration or photos in the classroom. Or offer these materials for use in art projects.
- Donations. Local businesses or associations, like Delta Kappa Gamma, give money or other resources to educators an schools. Sometimes a local restaurant, like a pizzeria, or other family friendly business will help you raise funds. For example, they may pledge a percentage of one day's proceeds to your program. Ask families to spread the word in the neighborhood and to patronize the business that day. This is an easy way to raise funds and to form partnerships in the community.
Published in Teaching Young Children, a NAEYC publication.
I am the mom of 4 wonderful kids, 3 boys and 1 girl. Looking at them, you know I have had many years working with and enriching the lives of children. I have an Associates (Magna Cum Laude) in Business Management, and a Bachelors in Early childhood Development and Education with a concentration in Child Psychology. I have almost 20 years in the Early Childhood field, and loving every minute of it! You can visit my site here