Parent Guide: Younger 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 know what my body needs.
  • I know what my mind needs.
  • I know what makes me happy.
  • I feel like I belong with my family and friends.
  • I like who I am.
  • What is a goal I can set?

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

  • What are your needs?
  • What makes you happy?
  • How do you feel about your relationships with your friends?
  • How do you feel about your relationships with your family?
  • What do you like about yourself?

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand the difference between a want and a need and help them gain an awareness of the levels in Maslow’s Hierarchy and connect them to the students’ lives.

Lesson Content

Our well-being is how happy and healthy we are. This includes our body, mind, and heart. There is a difference between what we want and what we need. When our needs are met, we are happier and healthier.

Parent Partnership

Have a discussion around what wants and needs were talked about in class and what stood out to them.

  • What is the difference between a want and need?
  • Can you think of some examples of needs at home?
  • Can you think of some examples of wants?

This is a great time to talk with your child about what we want vs. what we need. Talk about special occasions, traditions, birthdays, and holidays and how we celebrate those with various wants and needs.

This is a great opportunity for you to share connections you feel in each level such as the basic needs you have, and the needs you help meet for your child. You might talk about the relationships you’re working on and things that make you happy.

Ask your child to describe the Pyramid of Happiness, or show you their paper from school, and what they learned about it. Talk about the different levels (basic needs, safety, love, esteem, self-actualization) and what your student remembers from each one. Ask your student where they feel they are at, what they drew or wrote about in each section, and why it is important to move up to the higher levels.

Read the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes or watch this video together. Your student may have heard this story in class, but consider following up with them about how Chrysanthemum’s needs were being met for each level of the Pyramid of Happiness and how she handled the problem in the story.

The following discussion prompts were shared in class. Ask your student to expand on these discussion questions with you.

  • How do you feel when you are hungry?
  • How do you feel after eating a healthy meal?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do you want to be someday?


Review these strategies that your child learned about in class.

  • What are we already doing?
  • What can we work on together? 

Extending the Learning

  • Write kind notes to deliver to friends and family members.
  • Set realistic, age-appropriate goals to work towards.
  • Invite students to create a self-portrait and write at least 5 things they like about themselves around their picture.

Downloadable Parent Guide

Download and print this parent guide in PDF format. 

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