All children have basic needs that, if met, will facilitate success in school.
Every child needs AT LEAST ONE ADULT who is a positive role model.
Educators and other professionals can nurture this by demonstrating concern for each student, and/or by encouraging a parent, relative, or other prosocial adult to become involved in the child’s life.
Every child needs TO FEEL ACCEPTED.
Educators and other professionals can advance this by treating each child fairly and by appreciating his/her uniqueness. Provide opportunities for a child’s culture, exceptionality, or other differentiating characteristics to be acknowledged and valued.
Every child needs RECOGNITION.
Educators and other professionals can promote this by taking time to discover each child’s strengths and help him/her build on them. Furnish opportunities for children to develop skills and talents. Recognize and celebrate small accomplishments such as: running fast, getting a high grade, drawing well, playing ball, singing a song, controlling ones temper, or acting in a play. Acknowledge all successes. Share accomplishments with a parent in person, via phone, or through notes.
Every child needs A SENSE OF BELONGING.
Educators and other professionals can foster this by building a community in which everyone contributes and feels a part. Cultivate cooperation rather than competition and compassion rather than thoughtlessness. Work closely within the school and/or community to support meaningful opportunities for children to share their time, talents, and goods with others.
Every child needs TO FEEL SAFE AND SECURE.
Educators and other professionals can help a child feel protected by providing a structured, predictable environment that is free from harassment. Realize that for a child to thrive, adults in his/her life must be responsive to their needs. If abuse is present in the home, take the steps necessary to protect the child.
Every child needs SOME CONTROL over his/her environment.
Educators and other professionals can further this by sharing power with students, thus demonstrating adult interest and respect. Provide opportunities for students to make decisions regarding rules and activities.
Every child needs SOCIAL INTERACTION SKILLS.
Educators and other professionals can help children develop these by role playing and by encouraging friendships with peers through group work. Supply cross-age interaction during school. For example, have older students present programs, tutor, or lead discussions with younger children. Offer a variety of activities, organizations, clubs, and/or interest groups that foster social competence.
Every child needs TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY for his/her behavior.
Educators and other professionals can foster responsible choices by holding students accountable for the decisions they make. Teach decision-making skills through discussion, role playing, and by providing opportunities for children to use problem-solving skills.
Leah Davies received her Master's Degree from the Department of Counseling and Counseling Psychology, Auburn University. She has been dedicated to the well-being of children for over 44 years as a certified teacher, counselor, prevention specialist, parent, and grandparent. Her professional experience includes teaching, counseling, consulting, instructing at Auburn University, and directing educational and prevention services at a mental health agency.
Besides the Kelly Bear resources, Leah has written articles that have appeared in The American School Counseling Association Counselor, The School Counselor, Elementary School Guidance and Counseling Journal, Early Childhood News, and National Head Start Association Journal. She has presented workshops at the following national professional meetings: American School Counselor Association; Association for Childhood Education International; National Association for the Education of Young Children; National Child Care Association; National Head Start Association; National School-Age Child Care Alliance Conference.We are sure you will benefit by reading her blog.