Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Terrific Infant and Toddler Products

Hello, all! My name is Tasha Lindstrom and I am the Circulation Analyst at Discount School Supply. The main priority of my job is to ensure that all our special offers and sales have the correct pricing in our operating system. That means when you purchase an item shown in a sale promotion, the price you see on paper is the same price you are charged – and we are very, very careful about that!

In the more circulation-related part of my job, I work with our printers, fulfillment company, and data management company to ensure that you receive each and every one of our catalogs right on schedule.

And, even though I really enjoy my job, right now there is something I’m enjoying even more. I’m going to be a new mom! It’s a very exciting time in my life, and I feel lucky to have a husband who supports me and a job at a company that offers terrific infant/toddler products. Since I announced my pregnancy at work, the Merchandising Department has given me the opportunity to test an assortment of infant/toddler products. I know that the purchases I make will work for me and my baby. Also, I suddenly find that I have lots to talk about with other “testers”: the moms and dads here at Discount School Supply who have been using our products for years with their kids.

Everyone has their favorites. Mine is the Snuggle Me Tot Support . I’ve been using the Snuggle Me during my pregnancy; I use it for support by wearing it around my back when I’m sitting up in bed or on the couch. It helps to ease some of my aches and pains. And when my cat snuggles up to me after rolling in the dirt, I can easily unzip the cover, remove, and wash it. When the baby arrives, I’ll be able to use it to relieve my arm strain, and also to provide him with support for tummy time to develop his neck muscles.

I’m thrilled to be working at Discount School Supply not only because I love the products. It also matters a lot to me that the company is extremely careful about product safety and that we are also committed to reducing our environmental impact. It matters more than ever now that I am becoming a parent. You can find more information about our activities in those areas by visiting My Community on our website.

If you’re a parent who wouldn’t mind sharing a product recommendation, I would definitely appreciate hearing from you! Thanks!

Dress Up Play

Hi, I’m Rebecca Patterson, Buyer at Discount School Supply for our Dramatic Play. I have been interested to discover that many studies about early childhood development show the great value of pretend play. In fact, many experts are concerned that children’s “imaginary” free-play time has dropped by 25% over the last 25 years. Children are spending more and more time in structured activities such as ballet, music, sports and academic activities in order to help them get into good preschools, then good elementary and preparatory schools, and finally into good colleges.

While those structured activities are certainly important, there are many great reasons for imaginary play. Dress up play is a great way for children to discover what it feels like to be someone else. In doing so, they practice vital skills such as sharing, taking turns, conversing, and expressing empathy. Pretending also allows children to test the waters of disappointment, fear, anger and discipline. These are all essential skills that need to be experienced in for healthy development.

Children love to learn about their communities by pretending to be the people they see everyday – family members, police officers, firefighters and doctors to name a few.

Kids can dress up in costumes and pretend to be somebody different, enhancing the love of pretend. They can be a chef in their own “Top Chef” competition, or a police officer running around the house issuing parking tickets, or a doctor bandaging a playmate’s “boo boo.”

Our Career Costumes - Set of 6 are made of high quality cotton twill and are completely machine-washable. Each costume features hook-and-loop front closures that make it easy for little ones to get in and out of the costumes on their own. I enthusiastically recommend our Career Costumes for Halloween fun but also for community dramatic play everyday in the classroom. I am especially happy to be involved with products in the Discount School Supply catalog that encourage children to pretend. I would love to hear about your successful dramatic play activities or about dramatic play products that you would like to see in our catalog.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Classroom Canvas Quilt!

Hi, I’m Marin Plank, senior buyer at Discount School Supply. In my 7 years with Discount School Supply I’ve had many opportunities to develop new and unique products, which is one of my favorite parts of my job. Anytime someone asks me about my favorite products, I always think of the Classroom Canvas Quilt.

The idea came from two different sources, the first being one of my favorite art projects from second grade. Every student was given a square of clay to mold onto, decorate and paint, and then the squares were fired, combined and mounted on the wall in the hallway, making a large mural. As I walked past the mural every day for the next 3 years, I always enjoyed finding my own square and seeing how each child’s individual artwork combined to become a large, colorful, cooperative masterpiece. (I think our clay mural is still hanging on the wall of my elementary school today!)

Years later, that image flooded back to me as I was standing in a toy showroom in Hong Kong on a buying trip for Discount School Supply. The toy manufacturer had created a large fabric piece hanging on the wall that had individual pockets for little dolls. Each little doll configured together to make a large display reminded me of my second grade art project, and seeing the fabric background flipped a product idea switch for me.

I really liked the idea of using fabric for a cooperative class project (much more lightweight than our clay mural!), so I sketched some designs for a white canvas quilt that could be easily hung on a wall, with squares that could be attached together without sewing. After choosing a manufacturer, deciding on size and material specifications, and designing an easy system for hooking the fabric squares together with buttons, the Classroom Canvas Quilt was born! I love this item because every child gets to create their own special artwork, and they also get the satisfaction of being part of a communal project with lasting results. I also like that it is so affordable, portable, and easy to assemble.

I will never forget meeting my son’s daycare director for the first time and seeing “my” Classroom Canvas Quilt hanging on the wall of her office. Each child in one of the classrooms had created a quilt square for her, and together the squares made a special gift that she proudly displayed. Another of my favorite quilt activities is creating “thankful” quilt, depicting something that each child is grateful for. It is so touching to see artwork of all the special people and things in the children’s lives displayed together; this makes a wonderful classroom display at holiday time. We also recently had an office crafting day here at Discount School Supply, and the project was to create a company Classroom Quilt. We combined several quilts together, with each employee decorating a square, and now our large Company Quilt hangs on the wall of our conference room. Classroom Quilts aren’t just for kids anymore!

I’d love to hear other suggestions and ways that the classroom quilt has been used. Please share them with me!

Dream Glue

Hello, my name is Gloria Knowles. I am a buyer in the Arts and Crafts Department at Discount School Supply. Before becoming a buyer, I was an Elementary Art teacher. I had the opportunity to teach the art program for Kindergarten to 6th-grade students. Since I was a travelling teacher who went with my art cart into each classroom to give the art lesson, I was always looking for easy and cost-effective ways for dispensing art materials to the students. Glue was a product I used constantly for many of the art lessons, yet I found that it was so challenging to distribute glue to the children quickly and in a form that was easy for them to use. The glue also needed to be as mess-free as possible so that I could leave one classroom neat and clean and then move on for the next class.

Now, as the buyer for glues at Discount School Supply, I have had the opportunity to work on developing some user-friendly glue products for teachers. In short, I was on a quest for my “dream glue.” I began to search with many of our vendors to see what we could find.

To save money, many teachers buy the large gallon of Colorations white or clear glue. A big bottle of glue is economical – but it poses another challenge. What smaller “dispenser” can you put the glue into that won’t require a lot of clean-up afterwards and is still easy for the children to use? I was very happy to find what I thought was the ideal solution: a set of small jars that could be filled from the gallon bottle. These glue jars have a wide base so they don’t tip easily. Inside the cap, a handy glue brush is attached so children can apply glue without getting it on their fingers. The jars are clear so you can see how much glue is in the jar. Because they are clear, these same jars are also great to use with paints. The little brush in the lid works just as well with paint as it does with glue. These jars (GLUEJAR) turned out to be the perfect way to dispense glue and paint to students.

Sometimes, the actual activity of gluing can be a challenge for children, especially when they are gluing 3-D materials or doing collage projects. Often some glues take too much time to set, and students become impatient as they wait, holding items in place on their projects. Thicker, more tacky glues can work very well when you have such art projects planned. So for those special projects where thicker glue will allow a more successful creative experience, I wanted to find another glue-dispensing product to meet this challenge. I found a jar filled with super-thick glue that provides quick and easy gluing. The jars are kid-sized and easy for small hands to manipulate. Each jar has a wide applicator attached in the lid; again it’s the perfect tool for children to use to place glue just where it’s needed without getting sticky fingers. The thick glue works great for holding materials in place and dries clear very quickly. Discount School Supply offers this handy jar with tacky glue as a set of 12 for classroom use (TCGJAR).

At Discount School Supply, we have many other great glue products such as glue sticks, glue pens, and bottles of glue in various sizes. We know that you can find the right glue for your classroom projects. I hope you’ll like the two I’ve described here, and I hope that you’ll find your “dream glue” in the pages of our catalog or on our website at If not, I would love to hear from you if you have a special kind of gluing need for your classroom. Please get in touch!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wow, What a Clever Idea!

Hi, I’m Cathy Adams, Vice President of Merchandising for Discount School Supply.
The Merchandising Department at our company is responsible for selecting and developing the products that appear in the Discount School Supply catalogs. Although my talented team works hard to bring new concepts to our catalogs throughout each year, I am often amazed and thrilled to learn how talented teachers find ways to use our products beyond our original ideas.

Recently, while visiting a preschool, I noticed that one of the teachers was using our Step-A-Stones (STEPSTN) in a most creative way. This product is actually designed to encourage gross motor and balance skills. It includes 6 sturdy, plastic, flat-bottomed “buckets” (these are the stones) that are each 5” high. The “stones” are connected by an adjustable rope running from one little bucket to the next. To use Step-A-Stones, the teacher places the 6 stones, flat side up, in a straight line or in a curve. Then, as a balancing activity, children can step from one “stone” to the next.

However, this teacher was using the 6 stones as sensory stations! She had turned the “stones” upside down so that they looked like bowls instead. Each bowl was filled with something different. She placed rice in one, cotton balls in another, instant snow in another, and so on.

I thought, “Wow, what a clever idea!” There are so many ways to create different learning experiences using these 6 inverted stones. What about burying plastic letters or numbers in each stone and covering them with rice or sand? Or how about teaching sorting skills by hiding various colors in the bowls and asking the children to find everything that is red?

Seeing this sensory station idea in use illustrated for me once again that teachers are some of the most resourceful people I know. They are not “functionally fixed;” they may read the “directions,” but then they go in wonderful directions of their own. Their clever ideas and creativity keep learning fun and encourage children to stay engaged. I hope you will take a second look at Step-A-Stones and share your ideas with me. Thank you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Coloring without Cruelty... for the Vegan Kid in all of us

Hi there. I’m Amanda Morrison and I am an Inside Sales Rep here at Discount School Supply. I am also a Vegan (A vegetarian who eats plant products only, especially one who uses no products derived from animals, such as fur or leather).

I was looking at our website one day and noticed this really great section that listed all of our common Allergen Free products.
It got me thinking “I wonder if any of our products are Vegan?”
So, with a little research and asking the right questions of the right people, I got a resounding YES!
Most of our Colorations® brand paints are Vegan as well as some of the BioColor® paints.

Our Vegan paints are:
The Colorations® No-Drip Foam Paint is not Vegan, but you can make your own Vegan foam paint by combining Colorations® Liquid WatercolorTM with the Vegan shaving cream of your choice (there are some out there).

“What makes Colorations paints better than any other paint out there?” I can give you my opinion:
  1. The range of colors alone will boggle the mind. It runs the gamut from your regular colors, to neons, metallics, cool colors, pearlescent, skin tones and of course, glitter!!!
  2. Most of it is washable (which is a huge benefit if your kidlets are free-spirited with the paintbrushes, as I have a tendency to be myself).
  3. It’s Vegan so you know that no animals were harmed in order to bring you such great paint!
  4. The bottles are all recyclable. We have to take care of Mamma Earth and recycle!
  5. All of the paints I have listed above are made here in the USA
  6. You don’t have to be a kid to use it, seriously! I have the Colorations Liquid Watercolor® and BioColor® paints at home. I use them in various artsy/craftsy projects, and I am far far from being kidlike any more.
This is just one of the many reasons I love working here and being part of the Discount School Supply family. It is refreshing to work for a company that not only believes in their products but genuinely cares about the people using them as well, not to mention the planet we live on.

Paint away, I say… have fun knowing that the paints listed above on your brush, paper, fingers…or whatever strikes your fancy…are cruelty-free and Vegan…and ENJOY!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hi everyone! My name is Danielle Wolfe and I am a Buyer for Discount School Supply. I am lucky enough to buy for several categories: Math, Science, Manipulatives, Blocks, Legos, Puzzles and Inspirational.

When my son was in middle school, I decided to home-school him. This was a very difficult decision. People home-school for many different reasons. My son had lost focus and I felt that working one-on-one with him would help him to realize the importance of his schoolwork. This was a somewhat controversial decision at that time as I was very involved in his school and in PTA.

I was lucky enough to find a state-run program that allowed me to home-school, but also to meet all applicable educational standards. I wanted to be sure that my son would be able to reenter school at any time and would have all the necessary credits. In this program, we met once a week with a teacher who would supervise Matthew’s progress and ensure his success. Matthew also played team sports and maintained his school relationships to continue his social growth.

Matthew received boxes of textbooks and other materials from the state, but I really wanted him to have the best experience possible. I searched for projects and equipment all over the internet. I purchased an amazing microscope with lots of blank slides. We studied tide pools and rivers, taking samples and examining the results.

We followed a routine everyday. Matthew always completed his state curriculum in daily increments, just as if he were still in a classroom. But because I had the time to devote to just one student, we built science projects, studied Shakespeare, played Geography Jeopardy for hours, learned Spanish, made creative treats in the kitchen and, best of all, we travelled.

My husband travelled all over the country as part of his job and we went with him. Instead of just reading about American History, we walked all over Boston and Philadelphia, visiting the places mentioned in his textbook. We love horse-drawn carriages and most major cities have them to hire. Riding in the sunshine, listening to a well informed guide and allowing my child to interact with history was an experience that I feel has changed him as a student and as a person.

My son’s education has always been extremely important to me, and I thought that home schooling would be beneficial to him, but I had no idea how it would benefit me. I had always been involved in Matthew’s school, but our relationship blossomed during our time together. The adolescent years can be difficult, but we spent so much time together, it was impossible for him to withdraw.

My son is now a Senior in high school. We placed him in a private school when he was a Freshman. One of the reasons we chose this particular school was its open attitude to our home-schooling experience. I am proud to say that when Matthew left public school, he tested at an average level. When he was tested for admittance into his new school, his test scores had improved so dramatically that the counselor rechecked his scores.

We have the additional benefit of communication. Throughout high school, Matthew has always been open to talking with us. Let’s be honest-- he is still a teenage boy. I do get the occasional grunt as an answer, which I then need to interpret. But I know that I made the right decision to home-school because the foundation for our communication is there.

I know that there are parents out there who have struggled with this decision. I also know that it can be a controversial one. I would love to hear your stories and would be happy to answer any questions about my experience. My experience is also one reason why I really enjoy working in a company that creates products to support the education of young children – whether those products are in the hands of teachers or of parents.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fun With BioColor® Paint

My name is Whitney Younglove and I work in the customer service department at Discount School Supply. It’s my job to take phone calls and help customers with their orders.

My favorite product that Discount School Supply offers is the BioColor® Paint. I have 2 nephews who are 5 and 4 years old, and they look forward to doing art activities with me every Saturday morning. Every art project we do consists of using a BioColor® product from Discount School Supply. Their favorite project is to make BioPutty®. We pour about 3 cups of the BioPutty® solution into a glass bowl. I then have them pick 2 colors of BioColor® paint. We squirt about 2-3 tablespoons of each color of paint into the solution, and then they mix it around with their hands for about a minute. Once the paint solidifies into putty, they love playing with it. I used to be a teacher, and I know how messy kids can be with paint; however the BioColor® cleans up off our table with warm water and soap, and I always find that it comes right off the kids’ hands. I always do put smocks on the kids to protect their clothing.

Another project my nephews enjoy doing with the BioColor® paint is to make ornaments for holiday gifts for their teachers. The plastic ornaments come in ball, star and heart shapes and are such fun to make for kids of all ages. The ornaments actually open and come in 2 parts. I give each of my nephews an ornament, and have them open it up. I let the kids pick out 2-3 colors of BioColor® paint, and we squirt about 2 tablespoons of paint in each side of the ornament. I then take the two sides of the ornament and close them tightly together until you hear a click. I put a few pieces of masking tape around the ornament, and then I let the kids tap the ornament all around to get the paint spread inside. Once the paint is distributed throughout the ornament, I take the masking tape off, open the ornament and blot out the excess paint onto newspaper. I let the ornaments lay open on the newspaper for 48-72 hours to allow the paint to dry and then re-click the two halves back together and the project is complete. I have found the gold BioColor® and silver BioColor® work great for this. Also, the Colorations Make It Shimmer are a great addition to these ornaments.

I would highly recommend the BioColor® paint for any age level. I think the greatest achievement for children is to do things on their own. These projects are both so easy, and I have personally seen my nephews feel so proud of their artwork. Feel free to shop around for the items I have talked about in the Discount School Supply catalog or at If you have favorite BioColor® activities that I can try with my nephews, I would love to hear them! Thanks!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Practicing Good Health Habits - Tips from Discount School Supply

Hi. I’m Caron Pearce, Director of Human Resources for Discount School Supply. Part of my job is to provide support and information to our employees. Recently, I have been very focused on keeping our staff informed about the availability of regular flu vaccine this year and also about the new vaccine for the H1N1 Virus or Swine Flu. Our company traditionally provides flu shots for the staff each fall. This year we will provide the H1N1 vaccine as well when it becomes available. I hope that all of you are contacting your doctors, hospitals or local health authorities to get information about inoculation programs in your area.

We are also paying special attention to keeping hands and surfaces clean. We have made more disinfectant soap and wipes available to the staff in the office at Discount School Supply. That’s easy to do and it helps to keep good health habits top-of-mind.

In addition, we have made a list of all the products we offer that can be used to create a cleaner environment. Some of them promote more hand-washing by teachers and children. Some of them encourage better hygiene by using disposable covers or sheets. I include the list here for your convenience. You can find information about these items in the Discount School Supply catalog or online at Discount School Supply.

Of course, I must stress that none of these products will eliminate the risk of flu, but one useful step we can all take is to become very aware of keeping communal areas clean and to wash our hands frequently.

Hand and Face Wipes
Germ X Hand Sanitizer

One-inch Rest Mat
Two-inch Rest Mat
Toddler Cot Sheets

Latex Gloves set of 100
Germ Free Baby Changer
Germ Free Changing Pad
Changing Table with Sink

Changing Table Paper Roll
Kiddie Station Diaper Changer with Portable Sink
1 ounce Steramine Quaternary Sanitizer – 100 Count
Pureworks Surface Spray
Pureworks Liquid Soap

Pureworks Foam Sanitizer

For Hands-Free Portable Sink Usage:
Premier Portable Adult Sink from Ozark River
Preschool Portable Sink from Ozark River

Thank you for being a Discount School Supply customer and for letting us be of service to you, your staff and the children and families in your program.

Get the Most for Your Money From Discount School Supply

Hello, my name is Calista White. I am a member of the Inside Sales team here at Discount School Supply. One of my favorite things about my job is getting to know customers and helping them to make the most of their money. In my three years with Discount School Supply, I have met many dedicated teachers, directors, and child care coordinators.

As a sales representative, I get to talk to people every day. As I work with a customer through a new center opening or a back-to-school order, we get to know each other a little bit. We talk about our families, pets, vacation plans, etc. I firmly believe that developing this kind of relationship with our customers helps us do the best possible job we can for them. Plus, it’s good fun.

Helping all of these wonderful men and women who teach today’s children gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I may not be directly in the classroom, but I can assist each teacher to get the right supplies necessary at the best price possible. I can help them stretch those dollars. I love knowing that our customers are pleased with our service, pricing, and products. It means they keep coming back to Discount School Supply when they have a need, whether it is for wiggly eyes or paint or shelving units or changing tables.

Working at Discount School Supply gives me what I call the “warm fuzzies.” It’s that bubbly feeling I get when I know our customers love Discount School Supply. I am glad to be able to share a little of my experiences as a sales representative and I hope to continue developing relationships with such splendid people for quite a few more years to come!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Penguin Play

Hi, my name is Deborah Hill. I am a Senior Buyer at Discount School Supply. As I tell the folks around here, “It’s all about the product!” So, I’d like to share with you the thought process I went through that led to the development of one of my favorite items.

I loved stuffed animals as a child, and I piled them high on my bed. In particular, I have been a penguin fan since I was very young. In the case of my stuffed penguins, they were lined up in a neat row closest to the pillows…much like the way they march along in real life. As an adult I have traveled to penguin sanctuaries. On the warm coasts of South America, they waddle just inches from your feet, going back and forth to the ocean shore in their lifelong pairings. In the arctic coves of Antarctica, you view them with binoculars from pontoons in frigid waters. Sometimes they frolic with the pontoons. In either location, they are captivating.

So, as you can imagine, the opportunity to develop a penguin-related item was close to my heart. In case you haven’t seen our Penguin Domino Play Set yet, please take a look. The set includes wood penguins, and they come equipped with icebergs and a glacier. There are 47 pieces in the hand-painted set. In first thinking about the product, I wanted to make something that combined the cause-and-effect learning of a domino race with the dramatic play value that would keep the students engaged along the way. You wouldn’t know it to see them now, but it took quite a few rounds of samples to get the penguins’ rotund little bodies just right so they will stand upright for play but will also topple easily for maximum impact during the race. The hand-eye coordination is very important to the value of this item, so achieving that balance was key. And so much thought went into choosing colors for the icebergs and the glacier. There are so many shades of blue! I love the crystal clear blue we chose for the icebergs contrasted against the more pale blues of the glacier. I know these colors cannot compare to the exquisite array of shades in real glaciers, but I hope they inspire the imagination of future travelers and explorers.

I’d love to hear about projects you’ve done in schools with penguins. Maybe you’ve had your own March of the Penguins with my set. Or do you have a request for another penguin-inspired product? If so, I’m your gal. Please let me know!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Insta Snow, Insta Success!

Hello. I’m Loretta Ehrhart, Director of Product Development for Discount School Supply. Although developing new products is my passion, I have a lot of fun with the products we already have. Here’s an example:

Who needs lampshades? “Instant snow” can be the hit of your next party! Recently my son Rainier was invited to a friend's 5th birthday party. His mom asked me if I could bring an activity for the kids to do. "Of course," I said. "I work for Discount School Supply!"

So, I purchased lots of Insta-Snow™, clear plastic party cups a>and some tropical colors of Liquid Watercolor™ I put Rainier's sand and water table and the other goodies in the back of the truck, arrived early to set up, and the rest is birthday party history!

The party guests got to choose a color and mix their own snow. Their eyes grew wide with wonder as they watched the snow magically puff up when mixed with colored water. Insta-Snow™ is already cool, but colored snow is really something altogether amazing – especially for children who rarely get to see any snow at all. There was actually a line at the table, and kids were mixing snow and then getting right back in line to try another color.

Soon the sand and water table was filled with tropical-colored snow drifts. When all the snow had been mixed, the children kept returning to the table to run their hands through the cool, wet, yet dry-feeling snow.

Lots of parents asked questions about the product and I got to tell them all to check out the Discount School Supply Web site! I know that teachers love it for their classrooms, too. And as for Rainier and me, we are getting to be pretty popular party guests.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Picture Perfect Quilt

My name is Genie Thompson, and I am proud to be the Director of Field Sales at Discount School Supply. I am a former teacher and have enjoyed the business/sales side of education for 23 years. In addition to interacting with my very fine educational sales team, I also have a chance to meet with customers in their schools and at conferences. The excitement in teachers’ eyes when they decoupage a photo book with leopard and zebra paper using hot pink glitter glue or wear one-of-a-kind coffee filter hats painted with Tropical Liquid Watercolor is priceless.

Our company encourages play as do our open-ended products. At our sales meeting we asked everyone to bring a picture, and we created a “picture perfect quilt” of the sales team. The squares were decorated by each of us using stampers, markers, paints, and a variety of crafts so that each one was unique. Here is our result and, of course, we sell all the products used to create this masterpiece.

We would love to see you at conferences. Please write to let me know where you live, and I will send you any scheduled exhibits and workshops we will be attending in your area. We will help to bring out the artist in you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Children's Museums

Recently, I went with two colleagues to visit MY MUSEUM, the children’s museum in Monterey, California. One of our staff members, Jef, volunteers there, and he wanted to see how we might work with the museum to benefit children in our area. We arrived right behind a busload of children -- we were lucky to see the museum so completely in action. I think people sometimes mistake the word “museum” as a label for buildings that have glass cases full of dead things. Children’s museums couldn’t be farther from that description.

At Discount School Supply and Earlychildhood NEWS, we have had the opportunity to work with staff members from children’s museums in developing and evaluating products. They always have a wonderful perspective because they serve children across wide age, socio-economic and ability ranges, and those children are often accompanied by family members. The variety of experiences going on in any given day is incredibly varied. I remember being invited to the Boston Children’s Museum when its Playspace designed for children aged 0-3 was introduced. Now every member of the family is welcome at the children’s museum.

I have observed that there is often a missing link between preschools and children’s museums. Like preschools, children’s museums work hard to offer programs that combine fun with valuable educational experience. The museum can be a favorite destination for local preschools and a great weekend activity recommendation for families. In turn, museums benefit from working with preschools to create activities and exhibits that build on the classroom work at the school. That stronger partnership would help to build the link between the preschool and the community, it would introduce more patrons to the museum, and it would certainly enrich educational experiences for the children.

On our tour of MY MUSEUM, we saw children using our “Colorations” branded art products everywhere. Believe me, we loved that. We also loved the facilities offered in MY MUSEUM; we saw a guitar-playing crocodile on the little theatre stage – and we saw children being “gophers” and popping up through domed holes on the museum’s golf course exhibit (after all, we are just minutes away from Pebble Beach). We’re developing a program to work more closely with MY MUSEUM. We’ll let you know how it goes. (For information about museums in your area, visit the Association of Children’s Museum’s website at I’m Judy McGuinn, President of Discount School Supply.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Let Us Alert You To The Best Deals and Educational Resources at Discount School Supply!

Hi Discount School Supply Shoppers!

My name is Bret and I'm in charge of putting the best deals Discount School Supply has to offer in your email inbox. As the Email Marketing Specialist at Discount School Supply, it’s my job to alert you to opportunities to save big money on great products, show you sneak previews of brand new products, and point you to easy-to-use resources for your classroom or home.

But my job doesn't stop there. While low prices may entice you to open an email from us, we know that you're not always in the shopping mood. My job then becomes to provide you with other information relevant to you. For instance, if you've told us that you operate a Head Start classroom, I can email to tell you about recent updates to the Head Start Resource Center on our website. Or, if you are a parent of a young child, I would suggest you visit SmarterKids® Parent's Resources to help you strengthen the connection between school and home. Discount School Supply knows that each shopper has different needs, so we do our best to provide something for everyone!

My favorite feature, included weekly in emails to our email subscribers, is step-by-step educational activities. Sometimes the activities are fun arts & crafts that are great for an entire classroom of kids, or simply for the time between dinner and the bath. At other times, the activities are meant to augment your curriculum with a fun project to keep kids interested. It’s hard not to read through these activities and remember back to the classroom getting ready to cut some construction paper or opening a jar of paint for a fun craft.

It’s been fun telling you about my job! Help stay in touch by signing up for emails on our website and I’ll keep you informed of everything that’s happening at Discount School Supply.

Also, don’t forget to post a comment with suggestions of what you’d like to see in emails or on the Discount School Supply website

Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

Did you know that Discount School Supply sponsors a Faith-Based Teaching Blog in addition to many of the other blogs on our blog roll? Our recent Faith-Based Teaching Blog post was contributed by Barbara Blalock, a longtime DSS friend and consultant who also teaches in a faith-based preschool program. The post has garnered a lot of attention; it seems the theme of kindness is a hit these days. Here is an excerpt:

What a great day we had learning and being kind to each other. The children truly embraced and understood the meaning of random acts of kindness.

As each child entered the classroom I gave them a big hug, told them how nice it was to see them and said something nice about what they were wearing, how they looked, smiled, laughed or talked…

After our story time, I asked the children if they experienced anyone being kind to them today. The responses I received were wonderful:

“My mommy kissed me and said she loves me”

“Daddy put on my shoes”

“Mommy made me cereal for breakfast”

“Miss Barb gave me a hug at the door,” then there was a chorus of “Me too!”

“My brother shared his toys with me”

“My big sister brushed my hair and helped me get dressed”

Before class I had put out several different centers to inspire the children to make kindness gifts for others.

• One table had blank cards, envelopes, markers, stickers, and real postage stamps (one for each child)

• I set up easels with large paper, paint and brushes

• There was a center set up with string, beads and jewels

• The last center was set up with collage material, a wooden plank for the base, glue, glue brushes and paint

I explained to the children that they get to create kindness gifts for whomever they wanted and could chose one or all of the centers to create from.

By the end of class we had an abundance of gifts and the children were giddy about giving their gifts away. The children that made the cards were so excited that I was going to mail them. I encouraged them to keep it a secret from whomever they wrote the card to, but I am guessing this will be a hard request for a 3 year old…

Before the parents arrived, I asked the children how it felt about making kindness gifts and they said it was so much fun and could they do it again tomorrow? I explained that they could do kind things every day and that it didn’t just have to be gifts. I shared they could be kind by:

• Picking up their toys

• Putting their clothes in the hamper

• Making sure their dog or cat had water and food

• Sharing with their brothers, sisters and friends

• Saying their prayers and praying for the poor, sick and elderly

I think we sometimes forget to be kind to others in our busy lives. But, I truly believe that when we practice random acts of kindness it is contagious and others want to do the same. What better way to start it than with 3 and 4 year old children?...

Read the entire post on the Faith-Based Teaching blog.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Please Give Us Your Feedback!

Hi, my name is Geoff Jones. I’m the Director of Quality Assurance at Discount School Supply. I know that many people come to our web-site or call our customer service representatives looking for high-quality products at a great price. My job at Discount School Supply is to make certain the products we sell meet the safety standards outlined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and that you have come to expect from our company. Safety is very important to everyone at Discount School Supply. We source products from suppliers all over the world, and we have policies in place to assure that every item we sell is safe for children to use. Products we sell must comply with federal standards, but also to Discount School Supply’s internal standards, which in many cases are even more demanding than the federal requirements.

As educators and parents, you want products that inspire creativity and are fun for children. The last thing you should need to worry about is “are they safe?” We select our products for safety, for quality attributes, and for exceptional play value. We use and even “abuse” products to see how they will stand up to vigorous play from kids. We use one of the largest independent laboratories in the world to test our products.

In addition to helping to ensure that we offer you safe products, the Quality Assurance Department is also concerned about gathering feedback from you about the products you purchase from Discount School Supply. We launched our online reviews and ratings system in late 2008, and we carefully monitor the information we receive. Customer feedback is very important because it allows us to get new product ideas, to detect product trends, and to gather your comments and opinions about the products you use in your classroom or home. Discount School Supply provides a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee on everything we sell. If it isn’t right, we will make it right. If a product doesn’t live up to your expectations, we want to hear about it. I encourage each and every one of you to read the product reviews:

In addition, please log-in, find products you use, and share your experiences with others. We love to hear how people use our products in creative ways and how we can improve the customer experience!

Quality isn’t just my job at Discount School Supply; it is an essential part of how every one of us does things here. If you ever have any questions regarding the quality of our products or the safety of an item, the Quality Assurance team is here to answer your questions or address your concerns.

Thanks for reading this. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Throw Away Your Leftover Chalk Pieces, From Discount School Supply!

Hello to all. This is Kristi Lawler, Texas Account Manager for Discount School Supply. One of my favorite things about my job here at Discount School Supply is helping customers make the most of their money. In times like these, coming up with ideas to make a little go a long way is a big deal. My own kids go through a lot of sidewalk chalk and once it gets down to the little ‘leftover’ pieces the kids won’t really use it anymore. I was thinking about how wasteful it was to throw them away, so this is the idea that we came up with.

First, you have the kids help you sort the chalk by color (also a great learning activity), then put them in individual plastic bags. Next, smash them up (we used a rolling pin – the kids loved this part!). Once you have ground up the chalk, place each color in its own plastic cup and add a small amount of water. Mix it up, give them some paintbrushes and let them paint with it on the sidewalk! It makes beautiful, bright colors and gives them another way to use the chalk; plus uses up the leftover pieces so you don’t have any waste! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Recycle Please...

Hello, everyone. My name is Kevin Kiper and I am the Director of Direct Marketing at Discount School Supply. I oversee the printing and mailing of the Discount School Supply catalog. As I’m writing this on Earth Day, I wanted to share with you two of the ways we make all of our catalogs environmentally friendly:

Recycle, Please! All of our catalogs are 100% recyclable and can be recycled with your newspapers and other paper goods. DSS is a participant in the Direct Marketing Association’s “Recycle Please” program to promote and encourage the recycling of catalogs and other direct mail. A recent survey showed that while over 80% of all newspaper is now recycled, less than 40% of catalogs and other direct mail makes it to the recycle bin. Many consumers mistakenly think that catalogs are not recyclable. They are. So, please recycle! And, if you’re already a recycler, thank you!

Support Sustainable Forestry. The paper used in our catalogs is harvested from sustainable forests and is chain-of-custody certified. What this means is that the trees used in the manufacturing of the paper used in our catalogs have been taken from forest areas that are certified to be planted and harvested in a sustainable manner. No “old growth” trees or trees from protected areas are used in the production of our paper stocks. A “chain of custody” follows the tree from the forest to the mill and eventually to the printer with documentation to guarantee that the paper being used has come from a certified sustainable area. In addition, both the paper mill and the printer must also earn special certifications in order to be eligible to handle “chain of custody” paper. Our forests are a renewable resource if used and managed responsibly, and we actively support their conservation.

You might also be interested to know that Discount School Supply employees raised funds internally last year to plant over 1100 trees in forested areas of California that had been destroyed by wild fires.

I’ll be back from time to time to share more information about how we’re working to make our catalogs “green”. In the meantime, please feel free to share your comments and suggestions with us.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Customer Appreciation

My name is Rose Flanagan and I work in Customer Service. I am taking this opportunity to say hello to all of you. If you have called Customer Service over the years, you and I may already have met. They tell me I have a pretty noticeable Irish accent.

During the years, I have come to appreciate and respect you. The majority of you work directly with children every day. You do it with love and dedication. Often when I’m on the phone with a teacher, I have heard the way you interact with the children. I often think "How lucky the parents of these children are -while they are
at work, their children are being taken care of by loving, caring people.” What could be more reassuring to a family?

Because you are such lovely people, I would like to ask a question. Customers have often asked me to recommend a product for one purpose or another. Since I am not a teacher, I am not always sure that I would make the same choice a teacher makes. I know what products my family has enjoyed, but that’s not the same thing as having lots of children in a classroom, is it? You would know far better than I do which of our products you would recommend.

So that is my question: If you could choose one product from Discount School Supply to recommend to another teacher, what would it be?

I would be so happy to know what you think. Your opinions would allow me to pass along information I know other teachers would value. I am very grateful for your time to read this and perhaps to write back to me.

I have tried though the years to give my best each and every day to every customer I deal with. I will continue to do so since you deserve no less.

Best regards,

Rose Flanagan

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sandy BioColor

Hello Crafty Friends!

My name is Mary and I am one of the Arts and Crafts buyers here at Discount School Supply. I wanted to share with you one of my latest unique and fun experiences with BioColor® paint.

On the weekends, I love crafting with my 4-year-old nephew, Benjamin. Because Ben could use a little more practice on writing his alphabet, an occupational therapist recommended that we purchase sandpaper letters for him to draw on and trace. The therapist said if Ben traced or drew on top of the sandpaper letters, the texture would stimulate his brain and resonate more with his memory.

I was excited to do this with Ben, and to make the activity really fun for him. So, instead of buying pre-cut sandpaper letters or buying plain sandpaper to make letters, Ben and I made our own using BioColor® paint (#BIO) and Colorations® Craft Sand (#CS).

Here’s how we did it:

We mixed one part Colorations® Craft Sand to one part BioColor® paint. I would recommend using light or fluorescent colored paint and mixing in a different color of sand for extra contrast. I let Ben select the color combinations and do all the stirring! We used long, flat easel brushes (#SHPK) to mix the paint and sand. The effects were amazing! The green craft sand turned the yellow BioColor® paint into a really vibrant lime green. When we mixed yellow BioColor® (#BIOYE) with the red craft sand (#CSRE) the mixture turned electric orange! (My personal favorite was the fluorescent pink paint (#FBIOPI) mixed with blue craft sand.) (#CSBL)

We used Heavy Weight Sulfite Drawing Paper (#A80SU) as our canvas. Because BioColor® paint has a natural adhesive quality, the sand really stuck to the paint and the paper. While I painted one large letter per page, Ben painted some trucks and bulldozers. He even got out his little toy trucks and drove them through the sandy paint. He was quite engaged in the activity and enjoyed the sensory experience of putting his fingers in the paint to feel the grainy sand. The next day when our sandy-textured letters were completely dry, Ben used Colorations® XL Crayons (#XLCRAY) to trace them. The texture and colors of the painted letters are fun; Ben would just follow the painted lines of the letters with his fingers to feel the bumpy surface.

This was such a fun and educational activity for a preschool child and I would love to try it again. I was wondering if anyone else has tried adding craft sand to BioColor® paint. If so, what did you create? I would love some ideas for another project using this medium.

Take care and thanks for taking the time to read!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Join Our Team!

Hi, my name is Beth Kroenke and I am a Web Marketing Manager at Discount School Supply. I help create the snazzy emails you receive in your inbox each week! I also work to drive traffic to our website and to improve its usability, making it easier for you to navigate. If you are not currently receiving our snazzy emails, feel free to sign up - you'll find web exclusive offers, new product announcements, free activities and more!

If you are reading this post, my guess is that you’re a fan of Discount School Supply! Well, if you have a website or blog and would like to spread the word about our great deals on school supplies AND earn money at the same time, you can join the Discount School Supply affiliate program!

What is an affiliate program, you ask? Basically, it is a means by which a company may advertise on websites and blogs other than their own. For instance, let’s say Mr. Smith has a website. He joins our affiliate program and posts a link to Discount School Supply on his site. If a visitor buys a Discount School Supply product via this link on Mr. Smith’s site, he will receive a commission from us! Not only is this a good thing for Mr. Smith and Discount School Supply, but this also helps web shoppers find the products they need at the prices they want!

Interested? Simply apply for a publisher account (a free service) through Commission Junction and then apply to the Discount School Supply affiliate program. Once approved, you can start adding links to your website or blog! Sing the praises of Discount School Supply while earning money at the same time!

Want to learn more? Feel free to share your comments and we’ll answer any questions you have!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ryan's Aspen Table

My name is Howard Finfer and I am the Web Product Manager at Discount School Supply. I always enjoyed my experience in school. My teachers always seemed to genuinely care about me. Going back to first grade, I can remember my teacher making me feel special since I was the only one to get her jokes. From that point on I strived to make a personal connection with my teachers. I feel like that always gave me an advantage going through school; to have formed a relationship with my instructor. I always loved school, and often thought of pursuing a career as a teacher (and continue to be encouraged to do so by peers)…truth be told, I just don’t think I’m brave enough to get out there in front of a class full of learners.

I'm grateful that I can work, if not with kids, for kids. It's a great sense of accomplishment for me to know that when I go to work, my job contributes to the fun and learning that kids experience - either in school or at home. I am continually reminded that we're contributing to the overall good of society - whether it's when I go to friends' houses with children or bring my daughter to a community park activity and see so many Discount School Supply products being used out in the field, literally. Being a parent of a 2 1/2 year old daughter makes me not only the Web Product Manager, but a customer also. More than once I've received my Discount School Supply order and contacted the buyer or warehouse with my comments and suggestions (and yes, occasional complaints). I'm happy to tell everyone that you don't have to work here to have your voice heard….with the addition of online product reviews and ratings, your voices can be heard, too.

Having spent the past 5 years of my life working here, first as a Personal Service Manager taking calls and entering orders, and in my current position as an online merchandiser (managing and maintaining the products, categories and promotions on our website), I am proud to contribute to this blog space. I hope to, in the coming days, reach out and share with you my unique vantage point as product manager, customer advocate, and parent.

In this photo is my daughter Ryan at her favorite place; "working" at her Aspen Table & 4 Chairs Set.
Read my review of this, and other products here:

Creative Crafting

My name is Tiffany Harbrecht, and I work in the Brand Marketing Department. Every month, I have the opportunity to create new and easy projects that can be done in the classroom, the childcare center or at home, and we feature them on the Discount School Supply website. Each educational activity features our unique school supply products, often with creative ways to reuse and recycle other materials as well. These art ideas are just part of the many free crafts, curriculum activities and resources provided by Discount School Supply for teachers, caregivers and parents of young children.

My favorite go-to paint for these art projects is definitely BioColor® paint. It's so versatile, dries quickly without cracking and has vibrant results that never fade! I've used it on countless crafts, and it is such an easy paint to use – and to clean off my hands and work surfaces!

I often use our Brawny Tough Art Trays when I'm painting also. I squirt BioColor® right onto the surface for easy accessibility. The trays are awesome for preventing glitter from getting everywhere, and they're super helpful for keeping me organized when it comes to sorting and transporting the art materials I need.

A few of my other favorite arts and crafts supplies include our Colorations® Super Washable Chubby Markers and Regular Crayons, Colorations® Heavyweight Construction Paper and Washable School Glue. Those items have so many uses and have become staples in my art supply stash.

A few months ago, we found a blog entry written by a parent who had recently been crafting with his/her children, using an idea from the Discount School Supply website. It was an activity that I had written, and the blogger thanked Discount School Supply, raving about how easy it was to make the project with a few basic arts and crafts supplies and some materials recycled from around the house. They even included an adorable picture of their children's handiwork. It's moments like these that bring a smile to my face and demonstrate to me how arts and crafts can bring so much learning and joy to children and their families…and that's part of what we're all about at Discount School Supply!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Welcome To Discount School Supply CIRCLE TIME!

Hello and welcome to our new Discount School Supply blog. I founded Discount School Supply knowing that I could provide fast delivery, superior quality, and friendly service all at a price that beat our competition. 23 years later the over 250 people who now make up Discount School Supply share my initial commitment. Read further, get to know the dedicated employees of Discount School Supply and you’ll discover why Discount School Supply is the best place for all your early childhood needs. While our prices are lower, our delivery faster and our quality second-to-none, it’s the employees of Discount School Supply that will really make the difference in where you choose to buy your early childhood products.

Ron Elliott, Founder

Welcome from Ron Elliott, Founder of Discount School Supply

Hello and welcome to our new Discount School Supply blog. I founded Discount School Supply knowing that I could provide fast delivery, superior quality, and friendly service all at a price that beat our competition. 23 years later the over 250 people who now make up Discount School Supply share my initial commitment. Read further, get to know the dedicated employees of Discount School Supply and you’ll discover why Discount School Supply is the best place for all your early childhood needs. While our prices are lower, our delivery faster and our quality second-to-none, it’s the employees of Discount School Supply that will really make the difference in where you choose to buy your early childhood products.

Introducing Discount School Supply: CIRCLE TIME

My name is Judy McGuinn; I am President of Discount School Supply and the editor of this blog, which is being authored by the members of our staff. We have “opened the doors” of Discount School Supply to teachers and families of young children, and we invite you inside. In the current environment, it’s very important to us to enhance the ways we work together so that we can continue to do our very best to support the education of young children.

For over two decades, Discount School Supply has been the major “discounter” in early childhood classroom supplies. Especially in times like this when people are choosing to shop at stores like Target and Walmart to make their dollars go further, we offer you a similar discount destination in preschool supplies. We compete with retail stores which offer educational products because we consistently deliver within 2 days – and we deliver product specifically intended for use by young children. You can shop from our catalogs or on our websites. The cornerstone of DSS is that we reliably offer you high quality products at the best possible prices. Consistent high quality is our first mission. You can count on it. Low prices are our promise; we offer a 110% price guarantee to back that up.

We know that the early childhood education community has always been woefully under-funded. That is true now, more than ever before, with tuitions dropping as a direct result of lost jobs. So let our products and our prices work for you!

We also offer a wide variety of free resources. If you are a teacher whose class list is shrinking because parents are keeping children at home, we know you want those parents to continue working with their children. You’ll find lots of activities on our websites that parents can use.

Here are two links:
Teacherquicksource and discountschoolsupply (click on My Community). The activities are easy to follow, and they include a reference to the developmental area the activity supports. We created these resources for the benefit of teachers, but the language we’ve used is not so “academic” that non-educators will feel lost. The products that are available to you are available to families, too. There are also many articles full of useful information at earlyhildhoodnews. We know that children will return to preschools as parents return to work, but both parents and children need some help in the interim.

We all have the long-term goal of providing more quality developmental support to children from infancy to kindergarten. It’s incredibly disappointing that progress we were seeing at the state level in 2007 has been felled by deficits and other economic pressures. So we need to look for solutions that still work because children continue to need the support, despite the condition of the economy. We want to help teachers and parents as much as we can.

Do you have suggestions or experiences you can share? If so, we would really appreciate hearing from you. We hope you’ll visit us often and get to know Discount School Supply and its staff. We look forward to getting to know you.