Maslow Hierarchy of Needs Essay

1492 Words Jun 25th, 2013 6 Pages
Discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of need and suggest ways in which it might be useful when working with children and young people.
Maslow (1943) devised a pyramid of needs which has five levels, and are arranged in a hierarchy of how important they are for survival. These are, in order: physiological needs, safety and security needs, belongingness, love and social, esteem needs and self actualization. Self actualization is defined as “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming” (Maslow, 1943, p.375). The first four stages make up maintenance needs, and the fifth stage is one’s need for growth. There are many ways in which the Hierarchy of Needs is useful when working with children and
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Nicholls suggested that Maslow’s (1943)’s hierarchy can help us make school an end in its self for children. This is because those who adopt this view are much less likely to avoid work than those children who see school as a means to an end. Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy provides us with a recipe for making a school an end in its self for students as it predicts that if we meet the higher needs of the children, they will enjoy coming to school and will want to learn, increasing their level of success and thus helping them to self-actualize.
Another way in which the hierarchy is useful to those working in the school environment are the reasons behind increasing student participation: by giving students more control, every component of the hierarchy can be met. By giving students a voice and acting upon their wishes, schools can meet their basic physiological needs because students will say what they need even if it as simple as school uniform changes or a wider choice of school lunches. Giving students a voice also meets the belongingness and love component: Hastings (2003) cited in Holmes (2006) found that children who are given a choice on how to decorate their school, are much less likely to graffiti it because they have a sense ownership and control, thus feel like they are responsible for it. Furthermore, this sense of ownership and responsibility gives the children some sort of status within the school, boosting their self esteem, and when they…