Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) is known for his work in the field of humanistic psychology. In his early college years at the University of Wisconsin he spent time working with Harry Harlow, who is famous for his experiments with baby rhesus monkeys and attachment behavior (Boeree). It was from this early experience with monkeys that Maslow noticed that some needs take precedence over others. Based on this work, he eventually developed his Hierarchy of Needs. It is usually represented by a pyramid diagram meant to symbolize the “climb” that we make to fulfill our human needs.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs is important to an educator in many ways. The first level of needs referred to as Physiological needs, are the basic needs for oxygen, water, protein, salt, sugar, calcium, and other minerals and vitamins (Boeree, 1998). In other words, it is the human need of air, food and water that everyone requires in order to survive. Unfortunately, there are children in public education that do not always have the basic need for food fulfilled. There are currently programs in place that provide free lunches to these students and even send food home on the weekends. This is important because if we are to help children expand and grow, we must ensure that their basic needs are taken care of and allows them to move up the hierarchy.
The next level is referred to as Safety and Security needs. It is at this level that we seek out safety through other people and strive to find a world that will protect us and keep us free from harm (“Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, 2013) and also covers our inherent need structure, order and limits. As an educator, one of our jobs is to establish structure and order for our students in order for them to progress. It is important for us to open our student’s eyes to this need so they can create structure within their own lives and progress as individuals.
The third level is called Belonging and Love needs. When our need for safety and...