Do low-income or under-resourced kids feel less confident about going back to school than their affluent classmates?

We’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately as we’re preparing for the 2nd Annual Back-to-School Festival. And the answer is: yes. Yes, they do feel less confident. And, yes, that lack of confidence plays a role in their school success.

According to Eric Jensen, many school-aged children who come from a low socioeconomic status face more emotional and social challenges than their more affluent counterparts (Teaching with Poverty in Mind, 2009). Jensen’s findings show that “when children gain a sense of mastery of their environments, they are more likely to develop feelings of self-worth, confidence, and independence, which play heavily into the formation of children’s personalities and ultimately predict their success and happiness in relationships and in life in general.”

When money’s tight, it’s often difficult for caregivers to provide children with a trusting environment that allows this kind of security to develop. Thus, children feel less control over their home environments, and these emotions likely carry over into the school environment, causing feelings of low self-esteem and lack of confidence among their peers.

And it doesn’t stop there. Jensen further asserts that these feelings affect school behavior and performance, claiming that they “may inhibit students’ ability to work well in cooperative groups, quite possibly leading to their exclusion by group members who believe they aren’t ‘doing their part’ or ‘pulling their share of the load.’ This…exacerbate[s] at-risk students’ already shaky academic performance and behavior.”

A child’s home situation certainly has an effect on the way he or she approaches a school setting. When children feel more confident entering school, they will likely be more engaged and perform better in the classroom and with peers.

Providing students in need with all their required school supplies helps them start off the school year on better footing. That is our mission with the Back-to-School Festival, and we hope you will join us in our vision to provide every Watauga student with what they need to feel confident and prepared.