The challenges of starting a new school when you live in a shelter….

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When women arrive at our shelter with their children, they’re given the opportunity to change where their children go to school. Some women decide to change their children’s school because they are coming from a distance. This eliminates the stress of a long commute to school.

However, the biggest reason moms decide to change their children’s school is because of potential endangerment to their children. If a child continues attending the same school after coming to the shelter, there’s a risk that the abuser can take them home and away from their Mom, or follow the child back to the shelter and discover where they are living. To avoid this, the Moms staying at the shelter enroll their children in a new school.

Starting a new school presents a unique set of challenges for the children staying the shelter. They often are sad to leave their friends and teachers at their old school. They worry what the kids at their new school will think of them. They worry how they explain that they live in a shelter when someone asked “where do you live?” Sometimes they worry about playdates and how to tell other kids that they can’t have people over at their home. Here at Interval House, we allow the children to make that decision for themselves. They are not required to tell anyone that they live at a shelter, and they can choose to make that information private.

Children staying at the shelter have a unique set of challenges that other children don’t have when returning to school; especially considering many kids at the shelter start a new school. Like other children who start a new school, these kids are afraid they won’t make friends, like their teachers, or know how to navigate a new place. These are normal concerns any child has when starting a new school. We’re here to help them begin their new journey in learning.