Dawn Rebel


Back-To-School: Get Your Wee Ones Organized Now

Little Girls, Big Binders

Little girls, big binders: get your wee ones organized early. Well begun is half done.

It’s back to school: back to routine, back to order. Order is sexy, and you're bringing sexy back. Your kid’s teachers give tips on starting organized this fall.


Little girl, big binder.

That’s what my mother always called me: school supplies ready with organized tabs and sub-tabs, colour-coded baskets for my barrettes, a label maker by my teens, and my well-loved copy of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People on my nightstand.

Baby, I was born this way.

But, we live in a place called reality. Most kids don’t naturally gravitate towards order — so we need to start EARLY in the school year with tricks that teach our kids that:



(Pre-K to Grade 2)
“Even the smallest learners can understand the concept of ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place’” says Leigh, an elementary school teacher and mother to 3 kids under 4.

For kids aged 3+, their backpack is the home-base of organization. Show them how to pack it each night. Ask them what came home in it every day after school.

"Make sure to invest in backpack that can carry everything they need. There is no point in asking little kids to carry multiple bags — unless you are looking to contribute to the school’s lost and found bin” says Leigh.



(Grades 2-7)

“Life skills are part of school success” says Diane, a special education teacher for over 30 years. “From grade 2 onward, kids should be involved in making and packing their own lunch. By the time they get to grade 6, they should be helping to make a shopping list for their lunches. Seeing a student make a list is one of the best ‘tells” that they are organized. ”

Lists really turn my proverbial crank.


(Grade 7-when they stop listening to you)

“They need to fake it ‘till they make it” says Bo, an intermediate and high-school teacher. (Huh?! Fake it?! That doesn’t sound very teacher-like…) “As the teacher, it’s immediately obvious to me who will be a disorganized mess in my classroom:  It’s the kid who doesn’t even try to write down their homework obligations. An agenda, a smartphone…it doesn’t matter. I just want to see you write your deadlines down.”

She’s right. Behavioural psychologists have long studied the use of “external memory aids” (lists, agendas) and their important role in our ability to remember, while freeing up our cognitive space (a.k.a. the brain room we need for other stuff).

By merely:

  1. Bringing the agenda to class
  2. Opening it and writing down a due date that is assigned
  3. Bringing it home and looking at it nightly
  4. Remembering to bring it back to school

…the students are (against their will, I’m sure) taking MAJOR strides in making organization skills a habit.


Put these tips into action this fall. Save your sanity. Teach your little ones to be Little Girl/Boy, Big Binder.