First Book makes sure basic essentials, like snacks and coats, are affordable to teachers serving kids in need.

The Number One Barrier to Learning: Basic Needs

Seeing a child coming to school every day and not having what they need… it’s heartbreaking. A lot of the kids didn’t realize what they didn’t have cause they were so used to not having.

When I decided to become an educator, I knew that that was one of the responsibilities that I had to take on outside of just basic teaching.

Kenya Campbell, secretary-treasurer, American Federation of Teachers-Maryland 

As temperatures plunge across the United States, reports of schools without heat are rising. Staying warm is a common barrier to education for many of the kids our educators serve, and for some, it’s not the only barrier.

In a 2016 survey, we asked the First Book Network which life circumstances most affect their students’ ability to fully engage in classrooms and programs. Their answers reflected the stresses of poverty. The top answer–which came in at number one by a 25 percent margin–reflected recent reports of schools without heat: Nearly 80 percent of educators identified meeting kids’ most basic needs–food, clothing, shelter–as the number one barrier to learning.

Issues Infographic

Source: First Book Survey, 2016

Being an educator requires so much more than books. Which is why First Book provides more than books, too.

We were just not aware of all of the offerings that First Book had. We thought that First Book was just books. First Book supplies your classroom from top to bottom.

It’s not just a resource for the classroom, but it’s a resource for our parents, our community, and anyone else who is interested in educating our students.

— Chaé Carriere, Field Representative, Baltimore Teachers Union

Watch and share Kenya’s and Chaé‘s story of building care closets in Baltimore with First Book:

If you are an educator or program leader who serves children in need, register with First Book to access free and low-cost educational resources – including basic needs products.