In our K/1 class, we are introducing a basic understanding of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to expand our Social Studies unit of study, Families & Homes. Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist (1908-1970) who believed that in order for a person to be self actualized, or reach one’s full potential, certain physiological and emotional needs have to be in place. Maslow identified these needs as:
- Basic Needs: food, air, water, sleep
- Safety Needs: shelter, safety, stability
- Love & Belonging Needs: family, friendship, acceptance, community
- Esteem Needs: feeling respected, capable, worthy,
- Self-Actualization: harmony, set goals, successful, achieving full potential
While we have just begun our conversations, our little ones are already thinking hard and sharing their wonderings.When asked, “Imagine not knowing where you are going to sleep tonight, what you are going to eat for dinner, or who will keep you safe?”
Our K/1 students were quiet as they contemplated these scenarios. Some asked, “But what about their parents? Where are they?”
I replied, “Maybe they are working three jobs to make ends meet. Therefore, they can’t be home to tuck you in bed or read you a story. Some families struggle every day to get their basic needs met. How would you view the world if this was your experience every day. Would you think the world was a fun place full of adventures or do you think you would be scared and unsure?”
They quickly said they would be scared if their mommy’s and daddy’s weren’t home to take care of them. Others said, “I didn’t know some kids have it so hard. I guess we’re lucky to be in our homes, really lucky.” A little girl thoughtfully said, “I know I am because my family gives me encouragement, especially at school because sometimes learning is hard for me.”
We have written a class big book to help begin our learning on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In the next coming weeks our K/1 students will fill our class hierarchy of needs with writings, drawings, and personal examples as to how their families support their needs both at home and school.
We will delve into each need and how our families and homes provide us tools to support our physical and emotional development to become the best versions of ourselves. I’m also curious to see if they will offer solutions to advocate and support kids who need more support in their homes.
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. – Abraham Maslow