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Every Child in Focus—Military Child

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In April, National PTA’s Every Child in Focus campaign centers on the military child. Using the PTA National Standard for Family-School Partnerships, we will explore ways PTAs can welcome and support the families of military children in the school community.

We have created information and resources on the unique challenges military children face and ways PTAs can better support military families in achieving student success.

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How Your PTA Can Better Support Military Children

  • Read our PTA One Voice Blog for PTA success stories and additional resources. You can also share your blog! We want to hear local and state PTA success stories on supporting children with special needs and how you promote an environment that is welcoming to all children and parents. Use our blog share tool to tell us your story.
  • Share the Parents' Guides to Student Success. These standards provide clear, consistent expectations for what students should be learning at each grade level in order to be prepared for college and career.

About Military Children and Families

  • Approximately 2 million military children have experienced a parental deployment since 2001.
  • There are currently 1.2 million military children of active duty members worldwide.
  • Nearly 80% of military children attend public schools throughout the United States.
  • The average military family moves three times more often than their civilian counterpart.
  • The repeated and extended separations and increased hazards of deployment compound stressors in military children's lives.
  • One-third of school-age military children show psychosocial behaviors such as being anxious, worrying often, crying more frequently.
  • The U.S. military consists of approximately 1.4 million active duty service members and 810,000 National Guard and Selected Reserve. Active duty military families live on or near military installations worldwide. National Guard and Reserve families might never live near a military installation and look within their community for educational services, friendship and support.
  • A positive school environment, built upon caring relationships among all participants—students, teachers, staff, administrators, parents and community members—has been shown to impact not only academic performance but also positively influence emotions and behaviors of students.
  • Supporting the military child takes a school-wide effort. School staff should also be educated on the academic and social-emotional challenges military children face.

(Sources: Best Practices:Building Blocks for Enhancing School Environment, The Psychosocial Effects of Deployment on Military Children)

Ways to Engage Military Families

Military Care Package Night
For those children who have a parent/family member who is deployed or stationed elsewhere, host a night with different "goody" stations where they can make a care package to send to their loved one. Each station can have a different item and children can visit each one and personalize their package.

Worldwide Show and Tell
Get a large map and have children share/mark what states and countries they have lived in or visited with their families. They could bring in souvenirs or trinkets that they have from different places or share some of their favorite stories about places they have visited.

Military Career Day
Have local military personnel with exciting jobs (pilots, sailors, etc.) come in and share some of the cool things about what they do. Provide takeaways so the kids have something to remember the day (something like little sailor hats or small planes, pilot goggles, etc.).

Military Brat Appreciation Party
Host an appreciation party for the kids where parents, teachers, and others tell them how special, appreciated, and strong they are for being such troopers — especially when one of their parents/caregivers is away. Give out gifts/goody bags and have music and games.

PTA Military Alliance for Parents and Parents

Visit the Military Families, Near and Far

About Every Child in Focus

National PTA’s Every Child in Focus is a campaign centered on strengthening family engagement in schools by celebrating important cultural distinctions and achievements, while highlighting solutions to potential educational issues. 

Each month, National PTA will spotlight the educational issues surrounding a particular group, highlight their accomplishments and focus on ways to foster Family-School Partnerships. Follow our Every Child in Focus Calendar for materials to help families and PTAs learn more about each group.