Reducing the Impact of Poverty in the Classroom
Over 15 million children live in extreme poverty and don’t know where they’ll get their next meal from. Poverty affects a child’s ability to learn since their parents can’t afford proper nutrition. Limited income also means that kids will go to school without the proper supplies. Kids in poverty have a diverse socio-economic background, and this includes a wide array of beliefs, values, experiences, life changes, and background.
Disadvantaged children often feel excluded and embarrassed, and they live in a weird mix of shame, fear, and contempt. Their socioeconomic situation affects all areas of their life, including home, friendships, school, and more. Poverty prevents children from enjoying their childhoods and fulfilling their ambitions.
Schools need to be responsive to the needs of their students and identify the constraints that influence academic achievement and learning. Let’s take a look at how poverty affects education and what we can do to fight it.
1. Learning Disadvantages
Studies have shown that poor nutrition reduces the brain’s capacity to learn. Poverty usually compounds different factors that are closely interrelated. For instance, substandard housing, poor nutrition, and improper medical care increase the likelihood of childhood disease and cause low weights. Together, these factors adversely affect students’ mental health, self-image, and self-efficacy.
2. Language Development
Children afflicted with poverty often fall behind their more affluent peers in terms of language and literacy development. Poor children hear a smaller number of words due to their limited understanding of complex sentences.
3. Lack of Material Sources
Poor families often don’t have the means to provide material resources to their children. They may have limited access to high-quality healthcare and after school care, and they may not own a computer. Census Data reveals that over 17% of US students don’t have computers at home and about 18% don’t have high-speed internet.
4. No Winter Clothing
Kids from low-income households don’t have adequate winter clothing. These clothes are a practical necessity since kids without adequate outerwear won’t be able to participate in winter activities outside the classroom. Sports activities are crucial to their development, yet many kids can’t afford outerwear that others can. This also leads to a social problem: the stigma of being poor.
5. Poor Verbal and Reasoning Skills
Poor students have lower reasoning skills than their peers since their parents don’t read as often to them. Their parents likely don’t have a good education themselves and often work longer hours. They just don’t have the time to give their children the same level of attention.
What Can You Do to Solve Poverty?
The mission of Mansfield Cares is to partner with other organizations committed to addressing these, and other, issues. One of our partners, Common Ground Mansfield has been trying to solve our community’s poverty crisis by providing the resources our kids need. The nonprofit provides hungry students with free food, school supplies, and hygiene kits to both students and teachers. These supplies take the burden off of low income families so that they have one less thing to worry about.
You can make an impact by donating cash and backpack supplies to our program. Let’s solve the poverty crisis and help the younger generation who need our support more than ever before.
Chris Gensheer is the Founder of Empathy Marketing Group and writes for Mansfield Cares because he believes local charities working to help their neighbors deserve to be supported. Connect with him by email or on Facebook. To find out more about Mansfield Cares and all the good they do for Mansfield, visit them at mansfieldcares.org.