The last day of school, or, what to do with all that stuff

Today I sent my kindergarten students home with a shopping bag full of their creations – lots of drawings, quite a few stories, some paintings, some collages, and prints, and, yes, a few math and spelling worksheets for good measure. (You know how Ramona sometimes wants to be allowed to color? Sometimes kids really just want to be allowed to do worksheets.)

As a parent, I never am sure what to do with all this stuff. I’m not a packrat, or a scrapbooker, and I’m not organized  enough (or interested enough) to save every single thing my kid makes. On the other hand, I know their work is valuable I want to know more about the stories behind these reams of paper.


Here’s an email I sent to the parents of my kindergarteners with some suggestions about working your way through the morass of paper:

Dear Families

Your child is coming home with a big bag of work today. As a parent, I know it can be overwhelming to know what do to with all this stuff, so I wanted to share a few suggestions.

1 – Don’t go through the material in one sitting! But do go through it – WITH your child. Find times to look through small selections of work and ask your child to tell you about what each item is. Ask questions – what was the activity? Which project did you enjoy the most? Why? How has your work changed since the beginning of kindergarten? Which materials did you like using best?


2. Choose several pieces of your child’s art to put on display. Consider framing a special piece or two.

3. I’ve included a “Gan portfolio” in the bag – a file folder with your child’s self portraits stapled to the cover (one from the first day of school and one from the last day of school.) After going through all the work, ask your child to select some work to save for his/her portflio. Then, feel free to recycle the rest without guilt!

Have a wonderful summer!

Morah Amy

What do you do with “all that stuff”?

Comments read comments(6)
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Sharon Itzhaki

posted June 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm

The last day of school is cool .

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posted June 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Oh, thank you for the suggestion. I am always trying to reduce clutter and the daily delivery of more scribbles from preschool is maddening.

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posted June 22, 2011 at 12:25 am

We just went through my daughter’s work folder from school. I took digital photos of each piece, and then had her choose her very favourite ones to keep. A few have been framed and are proudly mounted in her playroom. A few others have gone to the grandparents. All the rest ended up in the recycling bin.

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Frume Sarah

posted June 22, 2011 at 1:44 am

We take photos of some. And I ask my kids to pick out some of their favourites and then tell me why they picked those particular items to save. And then I write that one the back because I know that I’ll forget.

And the rest of the cr*p goes in the trash under the cover of darkness. The night before the trash man cometh.

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posted June 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I like the idea of having one clean pizza box portfolio per child per year. Label the outside of the box with the child’s name, year, grade, school name, and teacher’s name. Cull the work that is sent home (taking out busy work and insignificant worksheets), photograph the 3-dimensional stuff, and put the important work in the pizza box. Store the box on a shelf in a basement or attic or closet and watch them stack up over time. As your children get older they will enjoy looking through the journals and other special projects that fit in the box.

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posted July 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Thanks so much for these ideas. Right now my preschoolers artwork is piled in a heap on the fireplace hearth, just needed some encouragement to get through it. Wanting to do it in a relaxing, meaningful and fun way with my daughter. I really like the idea of writing on the back why the child chose this piece to save and the pizza box idea because preschoolers pieces can be so large.

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