There is significant data to illustrate the importance of providing the right kind of educational opportunities to at-risk and special needs children. Sadly, students from lower income families are often less likely to have adequate access to nutritional food, safe housing and suitable healthcare.
It’s never been more important to work towards a positive educational future for children who are considered at-risk or have special needs. In this article, we look at some of the huge benefits to be had from high-quality early childhood, youth empowerment and alternative education programs.
Positive Outcomes from Alternative Education.
There is a big correlation between early childhood programs and boosts in real income later on in life. Children who have been exposed to a high quality start can expect 3.5% in income improvements upon reaching adulthood.
Additionally, a youth empowerment program has been shown to boost countless personality attributes such as behavior, self-esteem, better social skills and far better academic results.
One of the biggest benefits of alternative education programs for at risk youth comes from engaging with the positive environment. Negative peer pressure and influence can play a part in amplifying risk-taking behavior, but spending time around more positive influences not only reduces the opportunity to take a misstep, but also promotes an environment in which poor decision making is reduced. This is an important factor as they transition from childhood, through teenage years and into adulthood.
This isn’t just exclusively the responsibility of the educational environment, of course, and a supportive family, social and community network plays a huge role in boosting these benefits.
There is a big correlation between low income families and children developing obesity (around 45% of children living in poverty are considered overweight or even obese). This contrasts sharply with children from wealthier families who tend not be overweight or obese.
However, despite the negative effect of low income backgrounds on obesity rates in children, this youth development program in Brooklyn, New York, focuses heavily on nutritional guidance while incorporating meaningful exercise into their daily routines. The outcome was extremely positive with engaged students losing an average of 20lbs in weight and moving into a healthy BMI range.
An education support program in the US called 4-H has had some fantastic results in children across a variety of age groups. Simply by being involved in the program, students doubled their likelihood of taking part in extra-curricular information technology, engineering or science courses. 10th and 12th grade girls specifically seemed to respond well, and their participation in the program led to doubling and tripling their likelihood of engaging with science based subjects.
Without people training, developing and learning new skills in this sector, particularly in their ability to identify students who are struggling in a traditional classroom environment, children would not have these increasing number of opportunities to engage in alternative education. With a joined-up approach to alternative education, children can benefit from early years education through to graduating with a diploma and, more importantly, getting a significant head start in life.