In Part 1 of Living in poverty affects our children; GrapeSEED can help, we learned what poverty is and the five different types of poverty that might be affecting our students and their families. But how does poverty affect the children, and is there anything we can do to help? Let’s find out.

So What Does This Mean For Our Students?

Fact: Children living in poverty are exposed to:
* More stress *More intense stress *Longer lasting stress
Fact: Stress negatively affects:
* Attention *Focus *Cognition *IQ *Social Skills
Fact: Children living in poverty tend to hear less reciprocal conversations among others in their homes.
Fact: Low socioeconomic status (SES) children are 50% less likely to be read aloud to by a parent compared to high income children.
Fact: Parents in low SES situations tend to use less complex vocabulary and sentence structure when talking to their children than parents in high income situations.
Fact: By age 3, there is a 30 million word gap between children supported by welfare and children living above poverty.
Fact: 2nd grade vocabulary/oral language skills are a predictor of 11th grade academic performance for children living in poverty.

Any one of us who have chosen a career in education would surely agree that our children—all of our children—deserve better, they deserve more, they deserve a way out of this. So, is there a ‘silver lining’? Is there hope for our kids living in poverty? The answer is a resounding “yes”! The good news for our children is that ENVIRONMENT does play an enormous role in improvement. And who can create an alternative environment for boys and girls? Well, you can! Without a doubt, this is no small task! You may be thinking, “Can I really give something to my students that will make an impact?” According to renowned researcher Eric Jensen, there is. This is what he says:

“If you do nothing else as a teacher, provide hope. For many people living in poverty, hope and faith for tomorrow are the only things that keep them going each day. You MUST buy in to this fact: If brains can change for the worse because of hopelessness, they can change for the better because of hope. For students living in poverty, hope is not a frivolous luxury but an absolute necessity.”

GrapeSEED techniques school children in phonological awareness

Wow. “You MUST buy in to this fact: If brains can change for the worse because of hopelessness, they can change for the better because of hope.” So, if brain change occurs in a negative way due to “brain reducers”, we can counteract that with “Brain Enhancers”. This chart makes clear that for each “Brain Reducer” that tends to be an innate part of the child living in poverty’s life, there is a “Brain Enhancer”.

Brain Reducers           Brain Enhancers
Distress           Low Stress
Inactivity           Exercise
Depression           Pro-Social Contact
Poor Nutrition           New Learning
Isolation           Complex Environments and Relationships

Thankfully, GrapeSEED offers a dynamic set of these “Brain Enhancers” naturally built right into its “Oral Language and Critical Listening Program”!

GrapeSEED teacher connects with students

In Part 3 , we’ll take a glimpse into how GrapeSEED addresses each of these “Brain Enhancers”.

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