How Does Poverty Impact a Child’s Educational Development?


Growing up in poverty can having lasting impacts on a child’s educational development.

Sometimes it’s easier to think that all Americans have equal opportunity—that as long as you have that good ol’ fashioned grit, you can lift yourself up by the bootstraps and get where you want to be. That may be true on some level, but it’s also the case that some are born into a disadvantageous situation. For those who grow up in poverty, there are a number of ways it can impact their educational development that could have lasting impacts on their adult lives.

Less Exposure to Language

Because students living under the poverty line have parents or guardians with lower income, there’s less time for the child to be read to, sent to pre-school, or experience learning-oriented family activities. Having less exposure to words in general can set them behind in their kindergarten preparedness. This may cause children to experience difficulties with literacy later on in their life, as early exposure with assisted reading can have a lasting impact on children.

Physical Preparedness

Poverty doesn’t just set students behind, it can also impact their bodies in ways that make education difficult. Take nutrition as an example: students who live in poverty are often unable to afford healthy, nutritious meals that have a big impact on the brain. Poor health makes school attendance difficult as well, as these children may develop chronic health issues that come from poor diets. Lastly, children in poverty may not have as many opportunities to exercise in effective ways which can drag their physical health down as well.

Socially and Emotionally

There’s a lot of stress that comes with living in poverty. Seeing your family struggle with finances can make childhood difficult, and focusing on your academics may not be your first priority. Many families that live in poverty are also single-parent households, which can sometimes lead to that one parent feeling excessive stress that can be passed onto the child. Unstable living situations can be a real source of stress for parents and children alike as well, and in these instances, it becomes much harder for a child to focus on their schoolwork and give their learning the attention it deserves.

Talk to My Brother’s Keeper About Helping Baltimore

To learn more about our youth programs, Attendance Affirmation Project, how to help, or to find out more about our services including hot meal programs, employment assistance, health services and identifying possible emergency shelter, call MBK today at 410-644-3194. You can also follow our official MBK page on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, to stay up to date on our center’s progress and upcoming events in the community.


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