09/02/2014 11:14 pm ET Updated Nov 02, 2014

The 'Artisanal' School Supplies List

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Dear School Families,

We hope you've been having a wonderful summer. We can't wait to welcome all of our students back to school. We know it's going to be a great year.

Here is the list of the school supplies your child will need to fully participate in class this year. Great care was taken in choosing these school supplies to further your child's education and put him/her in a "ready to learn" state of mind, so we ask that you not deviate from this list when making your purchases. Some items may only be purchased at village cooperatives in the mountain regions of Asia, so plan accordingly as supplies may be limited.

1. Uniforms 
Children must wear appropriate school uniforms at all times when they are on campus. Our school is anti-sweatshop, anti-child-labor and anti-synthetic fabric, so please ensure that your child's uniforms are all made of chemical- and dye-free certified organic cotton. As part of our school's unit study on the continents, this year's uniforms will come from a South American rainforest-based clothing company, founded by a collective of progressive-minded hipsters who went to liberal arts colleges and majored in organizing sit-ins for causes that still baffle their parents. We understand that this makes the uniforms that your child will almost certainly outgrow by midyear three times as expensive as those made in the U.S., but we are certain you will feel triply good about your contribution to help save the rainforest every time your child gets dressed for school.

2. Lunch Boxes
Our school is a completely BPA-free, phthalate-free, chlorine-free, aluminum-free, radon-free, DDT-free and any other chemical-not-yet-discovered-or-developed-yet-free zone. Please take care not to pack your child's lunch in any container that might potentially leach compounds that have not yet been determined to be 1000 percent safe (via randomized, placebo-controlled trials in peer-reviewed journals) into the classroom.

3. Classroom Supplies
Kindly bring the following on or before the first day of classes:

* Three (3) reams of 8 1/2 x 11, 24 lb. carbon-neutral, chlorine- and lignin-free paper, manufactured using Green-e certified energy from 100 percent post-consumer waste. Natural and Bright White only please. Banana paper is an acceptable alternative. So is Nepalese Lokta paper. But please no wheat-based paper as we are a gluten-free school.

* One (1) set of watercolor paints. Eight (8) colors. Non-toxic, plant-, fruit- and vegetable-dye based paints only. Nothing made with strawberries, please, as we have a few students who are allergic.

* Seventy-two (72) Number 2 (two) pencils. This year, only pencils manufactured from recycled cedar wood scraps from environmentally managed, sustainable forests as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council will be permitted in the classrooms. Please also send an equal number of eco-friendly differently hued pencils. (Note to parents: We are no longer describing these as "colored" pencils as teaching tolerance is a core part of our curriculum, and we want to be racially and ethnically sensitive at all times.)

* Two (2) containers of disinfecting wipes, infused with Ciprofloxacin (aka Cipro) and/or vancomycin. Our first-graders will be working with anthrax and methicillin-resistant Staphlycoccus aureus bacteria in science class this year, and we want to be extra careful about "spills."

* One (1) case toilet paper; three (3) packs paper towels; eight (8) boxes tissues. All paper products should be 100 percent recycled and made without ink, fragrances, dyes and bleaches and yet still be as soft as the underbelly of an alpaca. If your child likes to use a lot of toilet paper, please send two cases.

* Resealable recyclable "baggies." As recycling will be a theme throughout the school year, we ask that instead of supermarket-brand plastic storage bags, parents purchase three (3) boxes each of 100-percent biodegradable "baggies" (in gallon and sandwich sizes) that meet ASTM D6954-04 standards for "oxo-biodegradability." Baggies should also be certified Kosher in anticipation of our unit study on the culture of world religions.

* One (1) 1-5/16 inch three-ring binder, chartreuse or fuschia. In keeping with our mission to reflect our school spirit in all we do, only binders in the approved school colors will be permitted in the classroom. Binders must be 1 5/16-inches. One-inch and 1 1/2 inch binders will not be permitted. Children should always make an effort to match their binder to their uniform.

* Two (2) one-gallon jugs of water, bottled from Arctic ice melt, and one (1) two-pound bag of organic and gluten-free rice flour. As part of our school-based efforts to be as natural as possible, the children will be making their own paste for their projects this year. On certain days, notices will go home requesting that you send your child to school with one (1) to two (2) eggs -- organic, cage-free, DHA-fortified only, please. We plan to make cake from the leftover paste to serve at our parent-teacher conferences.

We here at School thank you very much for your cooperation. We will be sending home re-supply lists mid-semester, so please check your child's backpack for notices about additional items you will be required to purchase. And do remember that we are a polyester- and nylon-free school; organic hemp backpacks, only in the classroom, please.

See you at Meet-The-Teacher Night! Don't forget to bring a raw, kosher, vegan, locavore snack to share!

The Staff at Your School
A version of this post was originally published on Science of Parenthood. Follow Norine at

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