Children can be very particular about what they take to school. Especially once they’re in key stage 2 (or junior school).
Reception class is easy. It’s just accepted that what’s on the uniform list is worn, and book bags are the norm. In our school, N was quite happy to wear a legionnaire sunhat because that’s what was available and what everyone wore. Book bags were what everyone in key stage 1 used. Although we didn’t use the optional school fleece or PE bag. I thought it’d be much easier for him to find his own kit if it was in an individual bag rather than him having to find his named items on the right peg (or on the cloakroom floor if they were all strewn there).
I loved book bags. Children look so smart with them, ours lasted 2 years before it needed replacing, and because they were tough fabric, N could shove in numerous jumpers, thick books, and his drinks bottle and the bag wouldn’t split.
But move into year 3 and key stage 2, and things change. No more book bags. They change to having book folders which are like plastic wallets, initially supplied by the school.
Book folders are fine. They keep their school books and pieces of paper in, mostly, a straight, un-scrumpled state. Because they’re narrower, finding a pencil case that fits inside is difficult. And N still has a tendency to overfill, meaning they wear out and split easily.
At least book folders don’t have room for a water bottle! But jumpers, yes, the way N crams them in.
Unfortunately the zip up plastic wallets don’t last, so I’m always on the look out for decent ones that will last. We’ve been through a few from Amazon. It’s always hard to see what they’re like online, but none of the stationery shops, office suppliers, or supermarkets seems to have any in that are bigger than A4. So online it was.
After going through 6 in less than one school year, I’ve now bought more expensive plastic folders. So far so good. The zip is still good, they’re roomier than the cheaper multipacks, and the plastic seems thicker and more substantial. They’re doing a good job for the price so far.
Ok, so they’re pricy for what is basically just a plastic folder, but if they last for a couple of terms, I’m happy.
These are the plastic book folders we’re now using – the UK ones single pack. I can’t find the equivalent on US Amazon, but try these through my affiliate links.
In an idea world we’d have non-plastic versions. (hmm, that’ll be a book bag). Now I’m thinking I might try and find a fabric based bag that’s stiff enough to keep papers crumple free, although N will need some convincing to use one over a standard book folder.
What do your school use for book bags or plastic folders? Any ideas for non-plastic alternatives?