|In the United States, 1.9 million children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the military, of them, 220,000 have parents who are currently deployed. These children are some of the most resilient individuals you may ever encounter; they are goal-oriented, college-bound and have a global perspective that makes them an asset to any learning environment. However, they also have an increased risk for behavioral issues, academic underachievement and emotional stress.But there is good news for educators: According to a report released by the Military Child Initiative, “a positive school environment, built upon caring relationships among all participants—students, teachers, staff, administrators, parents and community members—has been shown to impact not only academic performance but also positively influence emotions and behaviors of students.” As educators, you play an important role in the lives of military families; here are a few ideas on how you can continue to support these children in your school.Make them feel at home|
Children of military families are relocated an average of three times more than their peers. This means often students start a new school mid-year; an exceptional challenge because cliques are already formed and team tryouts are complete. The Military Child Initiative Best Practices report offers these suggestions:
Help them cope
Whatever your opinion of military deployment, the struggles of children from military families are real; you have the opportunity to positively impact their lives.
“Strengthening Our Military Families; Meeting America’s Commitment.” Defense.gov. U.S. Department of Defense, 14 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 July 2011.
Blum, MD, MPH, PhD, Robert. “Best Practices: Building Blocks for Enhancing School Environment.” John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Military Child Initiative: Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy Office, 22 May 2007. Web. 11 July 2011.
“AASA :: Fact Sheet on the Military Child.” American Association of School Administrators. American Association of School Administrators. Web. 11 July 2011.
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