Alphabet Sorting Containers

There are so many items that we have in the classroom that I consider a luxury. No matter how much your center has or doesn't have, everyone has luxury items. What I consider to be luxury items are anything that is not an absolute need.
We need: red, yellow, blue, white, and black tempura paint.
We also get: orange, green, purple, pink, magenta, and all the other fancy colors.
We need: markers, crayons, paper, scissors, glue
We also get: feathers, pompom balls, every color of construction paper, fancy scissors, etc...
We need: books
We also get: big books, books on tape/CD
We need: pencils and plain paper (scrap paper would work)
We also get: line newsprint, pencils of every size
Do you get where I am going? There are some things that we enhance what we are doing. It's not a bad thing; really it's not! We can make a lesson out of anything, yet we fall back on some items that aren't necessary. I look for teachers who can make quality lessons with a rock and some leaves. Anyone can sort and categorize colored teddy bears; a thought provoked teacher can sort and categorize anything!
That brings me to the Alphabet Sorting Containers that somehow made their way into my center (They were there when I arrived years ago). Now, we don't need this. Any teacher can ask the children to bring in items that start with a letter and add it to the manipulative area, or the science area. However, today I was sitting with a child who is three and a half. This is a child with lots of behavior challenges. He sat with me for 30 minutes picking up different items from a bowl, saying the name of the item, and repeating the first sound over and over until he figured out what letter that was. Yes, I helped him with some; probably more than not. He is 3 after all and we don't work on academics until the second half of their preschool year. They first have to learn to socialize. The pride on his face when he said "Lion...llll...llllll....llllll...ELLL!" That made this item worth it.
So, I am not saying that everyone should go out and get this item. What I am saying is, if you have a few hundred dollars sitting around and wondering what you should buy (and you don't need 5 more gallons of paint, new paintbrushes in every size, big huge easel paper, play food, or anything else) go ahead and spend your money on this. It is worth it.
However, if you don't have the money...make your own with the children. They will remember it so much more!

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