Brittany Wardell
Chelsea Gadoury
Katelyn Maxwell
Emily Ali
Hidden Challenges Faced by Elementary School Students

I. Description of Problem or Issue

There are many challenges faced by elementary school students that are not easily recognizable to fellow peers and their teachers. Although many students do a good job at hiding their emotions, they struggle to understand and cope with these challenges. The specific challenges we are focusing on in our project are food allergies, being an undocumented student, natural disaster victims, and being homeless. These create a great deal of stress and tension for the student and their family. We researched how and why these challenges affect the student and provide some hope for a solution in the future.

II. Research Summary

Brittany Wardell- My research for our project involved discovering the current rights and struggles undocumented children have in the United States. I began with researching the history of their rights from the Plyler vs. Doe case. This is the Supreme Court case that stated all children in the United States, legal or not, are allowed a free public education. This is a very controversial topic so I found articles that shared a variety of problems and solutions for undocumented students. Student’s largest challenge is faced after high school for those who want to achieve a higher education. The main topic is the challenges for elementary school children which ended up being a challenge to study in itself. Because the main issue for undocumented students is post high school, there is little research done on their earlier school years. I did however learn about school readiness which is the degree to which very young children are prepared to actively and independently meet the academic and social demand of school. Most of the information I found was on Latin American immigrants because their population in America has greatly increased by the millions in the past few decades. My findings concluded with solutions derived for elementary and high school graduate undocumented students.

Chelsea Gadoury- My research showed the many challenges faced by a student with food allergies. Many of the articles talked about the different strategies of preventing an allergic reaction at school. They also talked about the changes that needed to be made at home and how parents should teach their children what to do if they encounter a reaction. While it is tough to watch your child go through the embarrassment and frustration of a food allergy, some precautions may save their life. Meeting with the child's teacher and informing them of their allergy is very important. You can only hope that the child's peers will cooperate and not bully the child for being different. Most of the research agreed that banning peanuts from schools was not a solution for various different reasons. One being that it's not fair to the other students and also that it is very hard to enforce the no peanut rule throughout the school day and year.

Katelyn Maxwell- My research involved gathering information about what falls under the category of a natural disaster and how they can affect children in school. I needed to find out what children were more prone to being affected by traumatic events and how to manage these children in classroom settings. Hurricane Katrina was a main focus point in my research due to all the children who suffered and are still suffering now. I found that a lot of my research led me to post traumatic stress disorder. That is a prevalent disorder that children are diagnosed with after experiencing a natural disaster, and I found it extremely important to share the symptoms and warning signs of a student who is possibly going through that in your own classroom. I concluded with teaching strategies that teacher's can use to help children succeed in school while dealing with traumatic stress.

Emily Ali- For our group project my subtopic was on The Effects Homelessness has on Elementary Aged Children. I went to many sources to research this topic I went to Peer reviewed Journals such as the American Psychologist, websites by organizations such as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, read Newspaper articles on real life stories from the New York Times, and Found a study taken on urban families in shelters in New England rethinking the effects on Homelessness on children, along with many others. While researching I asked myself what is homelessness? I see people living on the streets and I occasionally drive by the local shelter but what is it like for a child? I looked into the effects it has on early childhood development and how it affects children before they hit school age. I looked into and found studies and articles on the physical health and how a child’s physical health is at a higher risk if they are homeless. I researched and found information on the effects of emotional and behavioral development and how homelessness at an early age impacts a child’s emotional development. and I found information and articles on how homelessness impacts the performance on academics and on cognitive development not only brain development wise but because they don’t have a stable environment to study, work on homework or even sleep and get the proper necessities to excel in school.
II. Group Product Overview

Lesson Plan:
1) Introduction of topic
2) Powerpoint presentation
3) Jeopardy Game

III. Visual Representation

IV. Research Questions and Reference Summaries

Why are food allergies a challenge amongst elementary school students?
Why is being undocumented a challenge amongst elementary school students?
Why are natural disasters a challenge amongst elementary school students?
why is being homeless a challenge amongst elementary school students?