Often there are school-aged kids at Samaritan House and one of my favorite parts of the job is seeing the transformation that occurs when a homeless family finds a place to live.
Every day kids are struggling because they feel alienated and less than human. This self-image has potential to escalate and effect other areas of their life. They can tend to give up and lose focus when they see no point in going to school. Here is what the EDC says:
- Do not stigmatize children in homeless situations. Do not think of them as homeless children, but rather as children temporarily without a home due to a complex set of circumstances beyond their control—and often, their understanding. They need sensitivity, understanding, and recognition of their individual strengths as well as needs. Have high expectations for their success.
- Make schools safe havens. The family and community life of these children can be so unstable that schools must provide a sense of belonging and security. In the midst of chaos, a teacher and a school can be a source of hope, encouragement, and positive support.
- Think of the needs of the whole child. Work with school and community resources to improve children’s physical health, mental health, and food and nutritional needs. Help meet their basic needs so that they are in a position to learn and achieve.
- Work with parents or guardians to develop concrete goals and programs. Parents who are homeless have the same goals other parents have for their children. Understand that adults in families that are homeless may be stretched thin, balancing many requirements. Many homeless people have jobs. Their time may be as limited as other families.
- Reach out to the community. Building a collaborative school and community network is critical to mounting a comprehensive effort to helping children who are homeless.
Wow... this almost seems like it could apply to mare than teachers.