The Ultimate Back-to-School Checklist: 13 Classroom Essentials You Need This Year

After a summer of fun, teachers, students, and homeschooling parents are gearing up for a new school year. Getting ready to go back to school can be overwhelming, especially when you start thinking about everything you need! To make the transition a little easier, we have created a comprehensive list of 13 classroom essentials.

Whether you are revamping your current classroom, or designing a brand new learning environment, check out this list of must-have furniture and educational toys for the upcoming school year.

Browse our list of must-have classroom furniture:

1. Get organized with a variety of storage. 

Available in white and natural finishes, the EdQ Essentials furniture collection is a beautiful, high-quality option to satisfy storage needs in schools and home-learning environments. Compartmentalized units like the 2-Shelf 5-Compartment Storage are designed to create dedicated, accessible spaces for children’s books, toys and learning materials. Choose from 24” and 30” units to create a space that fits your specific needs.

2. Provide simple, comfortable table and chair sets.

Versatile wooden furniture like the Nordic Table and Chair Set coordinates with any preschool classroom décor. A large, flat, easy-to-clean work surface provides plenty of space for any activity including art projects, playtime or even mealtime.

Organize your classroom’s dramatic play area with storage options from Guidecraft like the See and Store Dress Up Center.

3. Keep costumes and pretend play accessories organized and accessible.

Guidecraft designs a variety of dramatic play furniture to fit any space and classroom aesthetic. The EdQ Dress Up Storage features hooks for hanging dress up clothes, fabric bins for storing crowns, hats, and accessories, and a full-length mirror for children to admire themselves! If your space requires storage with a smaller footprint, furniture like the Dress Up Cubby Center provide plenty of room for costumes, shoes and accessories while leaving valuable classroom space open.

4. Inspire creativity with flexible art furniture.

No classroom is complete without a dedicated space for art. Storage, a chalkboard, a write-on/wipe-off board, and an activity desk combine seamlessly in the all-in-one Desk to Easel Art Cart. Perfect for smaller spaces, this uniquely flexible art easel provides room for multiple children to create at once.

5. Create a reading nook with accessible book storage.

Children love to be able to choose their own stories for reading time. The EdQ Book and Bin Display is the perfect height for little ones, giving them access to their favorite books at any time! The EdQ Rotating Book Display 3 Tier is another popular option that teachers and students love because it holds so many books, and children can access the shelves from every side. Every bookshelf in the EdQ Essentials collection is available in white and natural.

Create a cozy reading nook with comfortable Mushroom Stools and accessible bookshelves like the EdQ 3-Shelf Open Storage.

6. Provide alternative seating.

Fidgety little ones need comfortable seating options that let them move around. The Kiddie Rocker is a well-made option that combines comfort, style and movement in the classroom. The Kids’ Mushroom Stool is a unique and cozy children’s seat that is ideal in schools and homeschool classrooms.

7. Incorporate lightweight, tabletop organization.

Keep children’s most important and highly-used learning materials as close as possible with quality tabletop storage. The Desk Organizer High is divided to provide a designated space for papers, books and school supplies. The Tabletop Book Browser showcases classroom favorites and maintains necessary organization in busy learning environments.

8. Include mobile storage for easy access and maneuverability.

Make transporting materials around your classroom as easy as possible with durable, mobile storage like the A/V Laptop Cart. Multiple levels provide plenty of room for books, papers, and learning materials that need to be moved around the room or between classrooms. The Laptop Stand is another mobile must-have that keeps a teacher’s belongings conveniently close by.

Children learn through play! Provide plenty of educational toys in your classroom to enhance learning possibilities.

Browse our list of must-have educational toys:

1. Revamp the block play section of your classroom.

Blocks are the ultimate learning toy and a necessary part of any classroom. Start your block play section with a high-quality set of wooden Unit Blocks. Complementary sets like Arches and Tunnels or Hollow Blocks can expand the possibilities of play.

2. Include STEM toy sets in the classroom.

Introduce basic principles of science, math and engineering with toy systems like Guidecraft’s IO Blocks. Incorporate large kits like the IO Blocks Tabletop System or the Education Set (available in 500-piece and 1,000 piece sets) using specifically designed play tables like the IO Blocks Center for the most comprehensive play experience.

Learning continues outside the classroom. Kids can observe and explore nature using Magnification Blocks and Treasure Tubes.

3. Nature-inspired toys are necessary for little explorers.

The natural world is rich with possibilities to explore, and nature-inspired toys are the perfect exploration companions. Children can use Treasure Tubes and Treasure Blocks to collect and observe found treasures and bring the outside in. Magnification Blocks give children a closer look at leaves, critters, and the world around them. Other toy sets like Tabletop Notch Blocks can be used indoors or outdoors, creating greater connections to relevant architecture and nature.

4. Inspire imagination with pretend play toys.

Using dollhouses like the Modern Home Dollhouse or the Woodlands Dollhouse, children can act out social situations and develop important communication skills. Inspire creative dramatic play using dollhouses with multiple levels, intricate details and coordinating furniture and people sets that encourage children to create organic narratives during pretend play.

5. Stimulate children’s senses with light play.

So much is new and fascinating for little eyes, hands, and brains. Using light sources like the LED Tabletop Lightbox, you can curate sensory activities and encourage exploration of light, shadows and colors.

Designing a classroom can feel like an overwhelming undertaking. That’s why we gathered the essentials to make going back to school simple and fun! Focus on your space and your student’s specific needs to create the most effective, inviting learning environment this year.

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