JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., Aug. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- While all kids can face some stress heading back to school after a long break, military kids in particular could use additional help transitioning back to school.
Military kids often experience challenges that set them apart from their peers such as coping with a parent's combat injury, the deployment of a family member, and frequent moves due to a change in duty station — which also means going to a new school every couple of years.
This back-to-school season, the Department of Defense's (DoD) Military Kids Connect® program is highlighting helpful resources for military children and their educators. Military Kids Connect is the first and only DoD web-based resource designed specifically to support kids of all ages dealing with military life.
The DoD's 2015 Demographic Profile of the Military Community reported that there are more than 1.7 million military kids worldwide. According to the DoD Education Activity, the average military child will move six to nine times during their school career — three times the average for non-military families. Often, these students are in civilian schools where educators and peers may not understand the challenges they may face.
"Now is an important time to raise awareness about the challenges military-connected students face when going back to school, because it can be a completely different experience for them," said Kelly Blasko, a counseling psychologist at the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2). "When relocating to a new school, military children can have a tough time maintaining and initiating friendships, and adapting to a new school culture. They also might have a teacher who doesn't understand what's going on. While our military kids are resilient, they may feel lonely and frustrated. Military Kids Connect offers resources to help them stay strong, while offering information for educators to work better with them."
Created by psychologists and technology specialists at T2, the Military Kids Connect website has three portals — for kids ages 6 to 8, tweens ages 9 to 12, and teens ages 13 to 17 — as well as a separate educator track with information on how to support military children at school. The educator portal includes videos of experienced teachers and counselors offering advice on teaching students from military families; lesson plans with content about military life and world cultures, with key concepts in language arts, math and other subjects; and information on military culture, students in transition and students coping with a parent's deployment.
Military Kids Connect is a safe online community were military kids can interact with one another. The website offers age-appropriate resources and activities — such as the Where Are You Going? interactive map, which explains the culture and customs of locations around the world where service members deploy — and information on tougher topics, such as coping with grief and a parent's combat injuries. The Military Kids Connect YouTube page also features military kids sharing their advice and experiences on going back to school.
"Military Kids Connect is a valuable resource year-round but it's particularly helpful this time of the year when students and teachers are making a new start," said Blasko.
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SOURCE National Center for Telehealth & Technology