New Year, New Tools to Learn: Educational Warehouse Highlights Popular Teacher and Student Picks for Back-to-School

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With the 2008-2009 school year about to begin, parents, children and teachers are gearing up with new supplies. In a 2008 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions survey by the National Retail Federation, 54.5% of parents indicated that children influence at least 50% of back-to-school purchases. But what exactly are kids asking their parents to buy?

With the 2008-2009 school year about to begin, parents, children and teachers are gearing up with new supplies. In a 2008 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions survey by the National Retail Federation, 54.5% of parents indicated that children influence at least 50% of back-to-school purchases. But what exactly are kids asking their parents to buy?

New to the market in 2008, Kooky Pens, manufactured by Courage International, Inc., are hand painted character pens with their own unique identities. Each character's name is printed on the back of the pen and Kooky Pens retail for just a few dollars each.

Green school supplies are also gaining in popularity. Smencils, gourmet scented pencils, are made from 100% recycled newspaper. Manufactured by The Smencil Company, scents include root beer, bubblegum and chocolate, among others. Smencils also retail for just a few dollars each.
"Parents look for affordable products that get their kids excited about learning," said Easton King, President / CEO of Educational Warehouse. "Kids always want the latest thing and it can get expensive. We've seen a strong demand for the Smencils and Kookys so far and they present an affordable option for parents to give their kids a functional yet fun back to school item."

While many parents seek out products to get their children excited for another school year, teachers are busy setting up their classrooms. According to the Teacher Buying Behavior 2006-2007 study from Quality Education Data Inc., K-12 teachers spend an average of $475 per year on materials for the classroom. Elementary teachers spend a significantly higher amount ($539) compared with middle ($393) and high ($427) school teachers.

New for teachers this school year is "The Teacher's Toolbox: The Complete Classroom," a software program that allows teachers to track grades, develop lesson plans, generate customized reports for parents and generate seating plans in one program.

Teachers are also investing heavily in materials to decorate their classrooms. The Teacher Buying Behavior 2006-2007 study also revealed 85% of teachers surveyed use their personal money to purchase student rewards while 75% do so to purchase materials for classroom decoration. Popular classroom décor products this school year include a new collection of encouragement posters launched by ARGUS by Trend and a new collection of classroom trim by Trend Enterprises.

"We realize that many teachers do not have spending accounts to decorate their classrooms," said Easton King, President / CEO of Educational Warehouse. "We understand their situation, which is why we offer our Reward Club Program"

Through Educational Warehouse's Reward Club Program, members earn points with their purchases. Once they accumulate a designated number of points, members receive a discount coupon towards an upcoming purchase. Members can save as much as 15 percent with their rewards.

The 2008 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey also indicates that 24.8% of back-to-school shoppers will buy online, an increase from 21.4% in 2007.

"We have noticed an increase in online traffic," said Easton King, President / CEO of Educational Warehouse. "Our goal is to make our product equally accessible through our website and in our stores. Offering an online shopping tool saves people time and it makes it easier for us to monitor demand. In addition, we are finding many customers are limiting their driving due to the high cost of fuel and would rather have their goods delivered directly to their home or school."

Back to school spending is expected to be up this year. The 2008 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey reported one-fifth of parents nationwide put aside money from their economic stimulus checks for back to school supplies.

About Educational Warehouse: Founded in 1985 by two former teachers, Educational Warehouse is a family-run company focused on "Bringing education and fun together." An educational merchandise destination for parents and teachers alike, the company offers classroom supplies, developmental toys, educational games and hosts in-store events designed to make learning fun. Educational Warehouse has locations in Danbury and Norwalk, Conn., Carle Place, Spring Valley and White Plains, New York and Randolph and Wayne, New Jersey. Merchandise is also available 24-7 at http://www.educationalwarehouse.com.

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Danielle Cyr

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