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What school supplies does my child really need? Winnipeg MB

Crayons, backpacks, highlighters, computers, new clothes-the list goes on. With back to school advertising seeming to start as soon as the previous s ...

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What school supplies does my child really need?

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(NC)-Crayons, backpacks, highlighters, computers, new clothes-the list goes on. With back to school advertising seeming to start as soon as the previous school year ends, it's hard for parents to decide exactly what a child needs to learn and perform well at school. How often have you bought something your child really "needed" at school only to find it in the back of the closet a week later? To find out what items children truly need to learn, we talked to Bruce Herzog, CEO of Christian Children's Fund of Canada, an international children's organization that helps provide school supplies to children in some of the most difficult environments.

"When your classroom is outside under a tree and you come from a family that has trouble putting food on the table, it gives some real perspective about what items are essential to help children learn," said Herzog.

Here are some tips learned to help you choose your back to school purchases:

Determine needs vs. wants. Kids often say they "need" something, but are they really expressing a want? Look critically at what resource your child requests. In the case of children in poor communities, Herzog says Christian Children's Fund of Canada's focus is on supplying $15 school kits with pencils pens, erasers and notebooks.

Look for items with multiple uses. In some cases, Herzog says giving children a small erasable blackboard and chalk to do equations and record answers makes more sense than giving a piece of paper that will only be used once. Look for school supplies that can be reused. It is good for your wallet, and the environment.

Focus on food. Herzog says we often focus on the things kids have in their hands, and not what they need to make their brains work best. Providing kids with nutritious food is a key part of Christian Children's Fund of Canada's mandate, and something parents here should consider as well. Remember, it's easier to concentrate when a stomach isn't growling and easier to learn when you have the necessary vitamins.

More information about the school supplies provided by Christian Children's Fund of Canada or how to contribute is available online at www.ccfcanada.ca.

Credit: www.newscanada.com