Parent Guide: Upper Elementary: Lesson 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy

Parents: These are the student check-in prompts for this lesson. Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you want to see how your student responded to any of these prompts.

  • I am aware of my needs.
  • I am aware of what motivates me.
  • I can locate myself on Maslow’s Hierarchy.
  • I can list the levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy.
  • What is a goal you can set this week?
  • What is a strategy you can implement to help you accomplish your goal?

A great way to follow up is to ask your child the following questions:

  • What are your needs?
  • What motivates you?
  • Where are you on Maslow’s Hierarchy?
  • What are the levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy?

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, identify what level they are on, and to help them understand the interconnection between needs.

Lesson Content

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a popular motivation theory that is widely referred to in educational circles. In this theory, Abraham Maslow suggested that before individuals meet their full potential, they need to satisfy a series of needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides a reminder and framework that our students are less likely to perform at their full potential if their basic needs are unmet.

Parent Partnership

Review the graphic of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Ask your child:

  • How are you feeling about having your basic needs met at home?
  • Do you have what you need so that you are not worried about your basic needs?
  • What can I do to help?
  • What can we do as a family to help?

Invite students to share their graphic organizer of what motivates them from class today.

Ask your child:

  • What motivates you to do your best and be your best self?
  • What do you want me to know?
  • How can I best support you?
  • What do you need in order to feel safe, connected, and confident?

Invite your child to share any other comments, thoughts, feelings, further questions, etc. Be sure to validate what they share.

Extending the Learning

Read the true story “Homeless to Harvard” with your child. Highlight the examples of the levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs described in the article. Invite your child to add a + sign if the need is being met in the article and a – sign if the need is unmet. Do the first couple of sentences together.

Brainstorm some examples of unfulfilled needs that did occur or could have occurred in the story (but aren’t cited) and have students research local community resources that David and his family could have turned to for help in meeting those needs if they lived in your local area. Show students that there is help available and many times it’s free or low cost; all they have to do is ask or let someone know what’s going on. Use this as an opportunity to help your child (and family) recognize the services that are available in your own community.

This is also a great opportunity to discuss and decide as a family how you are going to interact with and help those who are less fortunate.

  • What can we do as a family to be aware and kind?
  • What can we do as a family to serve?

This is also a great opportunity for you as a parent to share what you are doing to help meet your child’s needs including the sacrifices that you make as a family to make sure everyone is taken care of.

Help your child understand that even as adults we also have needs. Describe what you do to take care of your own needs. Model the strategies of identifying your needs and addressing your needs.


Review the strategies with your child. Ask:

  • How can I support you in identifying your own needs?
  • How can you communicate with me about your needs?

Downloadable Parent Guide

Download and print this parent guide in PDF format. 

Are you a teacher? We have a scope and sequence and lesson plans we would love to share with you.