Free T2 Resources for Educators Help Military Kids at School

Kids in school want to make friends, be liked by their teachers (or just stay out of trouble) and kind of know what’s going on in their classes. They really just want to fit in. But for military kids, that can be hard to do. They move often. Families get separated by deployments. And many kids have to adjust to parents returning home with physical or behavioral health issues. These kids are a minority from a very different culture—the military culture--so very few people (if anyone) understand what their lives are really like.

The Educators section of T2’s Military Kids Connect website has resources that teachers, counselors, nurses or others can use to learn about military culture and stressors specific to military families. The website includes lesson plans to help integrate military kids into classrooms and give their classmates a glimpse into their unique world.

Resources in the Military Culture section include Military Life 101, which covers the structure and culture of the military and learning its special “lingo” to understanding how the deployment cycle works. The Working with Military Students video shows teachers and counselors giving advice from their experiences, including the challenges of working with students coping with a parent's deployment.

In a section aimed at helping students, the Typical Student Behaviors section describes behaviors that educators might see in students dealing with a parent’s deployment. The Ideas to Help Students Cope section has plenty of tips on how to make classrooms a fun place for military kids. The Military Youth Coping with Separation video has kids from military families sharing their thoughts and feelings about how they coped when their parent was deployed. An accompanying group facilitator's guide gives sample questions to help students open up.

The third section offers lesson plans and handouts tailored for elementary, middle and high school students that integrate aspects of military life with key learning concepts in social studies, language arts, math and other subjects.

As the Month of the Military Child wraps up, the end of the school year is close behind. Educators might consider incorporating come of these resources into next year’s lesson plans during their in-service training over the summer. Military parents can also discuss these materials with educators when enrolling their kids in a new school or meeting with teachers. But anything to support military kids and help them fit in at school, even if just a bit, will help.

Cathy McDonald is the Staff Writer for the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2).

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Center for Telehealth & Technology, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.


Read other posts by Ms. Cathy McDonald