Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Reconsidering Maslow: The Role of the School Health Policy in a Holistic Approach to Child Health and Wellness
Sarah Irvine Belson, PhD; Anastasia Snelling, PhD; Emily Heap, MA

Schools in the United States have made use of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1943, 1954) since the 1940s as a way to understand everything from student motivation to school buildings. Little attention is given, however, to the degree to which teachers have a role in meeting students’ basic needs, particularly at the foundational levels of the hierarchy. While teachers are understood to be core to student success, in the United States they are typically poorly prepared to address students’ basic physiological and safety needs. This paper examines analysis of a policy that was implemented at the school level in order to highlight the critical role that teachers must play in creating healthy school environments and will act as a call to increase the focus of research on teachers’ roles in providing integrated and comprehensive health education in schools to lead to long-term benefits.

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