I teach in a kindergarten classroom. I would like to know what is the most sustainable out of:

  • paper (starting new, and then as the year goes on, reclaimed/reused as possible
  • paper inside of either lamination or page protectors so they can be reused throughout the year, though obviously this involves plastic waste
  • dry erase boards (reusable themselves but produces waste from dry erase markers, which tend to "die" quickly in a kindergarten classroom). I already have boards.
  • magnetic boards (can be used for multiple years with no direct trashcan waste but are usually not recyclable). I would have to purchase these.
  • something else I am not considering?

Edited to add responses to questions.

You're doing the writing, or the students are?

  • Students will be doing the writing, they need to practice letter and number formation, show me quick responses to things.

At the front of the class, or on a desk/table?

  • The students would be using personal supplies in their own space.

Once something is written, how long does it need to last?

  • The writing I'm concerned about is quick, temporary pieces of writing or math practice.

Also, unfortunately due to the nature of my school, chalk is not allowed due to the supposed impact of the dust on our relatively large number of students with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Thank you for your time.


2 Answers 2


Chalkboards. Old school, but bullet-proof — they last forever. Come in various sizes for stand-up/sit-down use. Larger ones can be used for collaborative/group efforts. Chalkboards inherently reinforce the value of 'cleaning'.

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Chalk is available in virtually unlimited colours that appeal to young eyes. You probably already have all of the raw ingredients in your art supply room that are required to make your own chalk, so you can have the kids make their own chalk in whatever colours they want. Management laps up cross-disciplinary activities.

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Chalk can also then be used for outdoor activities on bitumen/concrete. Trivial to clean — just wait for it to rain or grab a hose and spray.

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I seem to remember a 'magic marker' board where a child could write, and their writing was erased by simply pulling a band across the screen. I think it worked by any tool, a blunt pencil for instance, depressing the substance underneath the screen to show up as writing, so that when the bar was pulled over it, it simply levelled it out again and erased it. There were probably two layers beneath the screen which the band separated again each time it was pulled. Such a tool would go on working for years I would think.

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