By Camille Sperrazza
When it comes to children’s educations, there are two groups of people who know what’s best: parents and teachers.Schooltime Supplies (2334B Ralph Avenue, 718-241-4057) offers the best of both worlds because the store’s owner, Heather Adelle, is both a parent and a teacher. As a result, she can advise mom, dad, and the many educators who shop there.“We know the curriculum for all grades,” Adelle says. “When people come in and ask for something specific, we know how to direct them.”Such knowledge is especially helpful when it comes to advising parents who may not be as familiar with grade requirements. Adelle can fill them in on what’s expected, and supply the teaching tools to meet these standards.Like any good educator, Adelle plans her purchases. “I know what to order and what not to order,” she says. Aside from meeting parents’ needs, “We understand teachers’ needs,” she says.Patrons will find teacher resources, test preparation material, puzzles, games, and hands-on manipulatives on the shelves. There are a number of resources available for children with special needs. For example, educational tools by Melissa & Doug are “flying off the shelves,” she says. “Teachers and parents love them.” In particular, popular items include Melissa & Doug handcrafted wooden puzzles and games.Likewise, Adelle carries the Frank Schaffer Company broad line of classroom supplies that include sequencing learning tools, designed especially to meet the needs of autistic children. “Lots of people come into the store, asking for these,“ she says. A number of therapists find them to be beneficial as well, she says.Seasonal learning tools are always in demand, and Schooltime Supplies carries an abundance of these. Right now people are shopping for ideas for Black History Month and Women’s History Month. They’ve come to the right place as Schooltime has them all. There’s also a spring line of activities, she says. It’s the perfect opportunity to plant creative ideas in young people’s minds.Creating the right environment is an essential part of any learning experience, which is why there are lots of bright decorations in an assortment of lively colors to liven up classrooms. There are also decorations to match the seasons.So many of the other teacher supply stores cater only to elementary school children. But as Adelle is licensed to teach middle school, she has made it her business to meet the needs of educators who teach kindergarten through eighth grades. She also has some material suitable for high school students.Teachers are invited to stretch their Teacher’s Choice dollars. The shop gladly accepts tax exempt numbers so educators can use the savings to purchase additional supplies.Open since December 10, 2005, Schooltime Supplies is a quaint, cozy store, where everyone feels comfortable. If it seems like “home,” it may be because this teacher-owned shop is a family affair. Adelle’s husband, Brian, helps out at the store in the evenings. During the day, customers are delighted to discover Adelle’s friendly 16-month old son running around the shop, doing what he can to assist.Although the shop is new to the neighborhood, it has already received excellent praise via word of mouth. “People know I’m a teacher,” says Adelle, “so they trust my advice.”Adelle also says that customers have learned they can rely on her honesty. “People appreciate that,” she says. In fact, recently one customer was looking for a specific piece of literature. While it wasn’t on sale at the shop, Adelle had it in her personal files. “I had it, so I just gave it to her,” she says.Patrons are encouraged to browse and take their time. “We leave customers to explore,” says Adelle. “We’re here if you need help, but we don’t stand over you.”Whether you’re a teacher looking for classroom ideas, or a parent helping a child meet grade standards, Schooltime Supplies can help. Shop Mondays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.