What is the Education Toolkit?

The Education Toolkit is a comprehensive resource designed to teach children at the elementary, middle and high school levels about homelessness. The toolkit is designed for educators, parents, and caregivers to use as a guide when talking to children about what homelessness is and how to end it.

Children can experience a lot of discordant emotions when they see homelessness without context, and here in L.A. County they encounter it every day. Early learning can help them better understand the power of compassion, empathy, thoughtfulness, and taking personal action.

The funding to create this resource was made possible through a grant from the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative.

The Education Toolkit is designed to be adapted based on the needs of your students, with an introductory framing section that will help you think about how to address these difficult topics in a sensitive and age-appropriate way.

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Full Toolkit

The full education toolkit with nine lessons for grades 1-12 and an appendix with ancillary resources.

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One-Pager

A one-pager for parents and educators on how to talk with children about homelessness. Intended for ages 1-6.

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Framing

A resource to help educators and care providers frame why this toolkit is important and how to use it.

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Table of Contents

Unit 1: What is homelessness?

Unit 2: What causes homelessness?

Unit 3: What impact can I have on homelessness?

Appendix

Unit 1: What is homelessness?

This unit lays the foundation on which future conversations about homelessness and housing will be built. It explores the nature of a home and the support, both material and emotional, that homes provide, challenging students to consider life without one. Older students explore the concept of a fundamental right to housing, and examine the stigma that is often associated with homelessness.

Define what a home is with this art and discussion-based activity for grades 1-5.

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Explore who has a right to a safe, stable home through this activity for grades 6-8.

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Examine compassion fatigue and the stigma of homelessness, for grades 9-12.

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Unit 2: What causes homelessness?

This unit explores the causes of homelessness and asks students to let go of preconceived notions about homelessness and the people who experience it. Students are challenged to examine the systemic issues that propagate homelessness, explore the problem through data and real stories, and learn about the services and resources that help people regain housing.

Consider places that people live that are not a home and how that impacts them, grades 1-5.

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Explore the difference between perceptions about homelessness, and reality. Intended for grades 6-8.

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Examine root causes of homelessness through statistics and discussion, intended for grades 9-12.

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Unit 3: What impact can I have on homelessness?

This unit turns the tools of understanding and empathy gathered from the other units and challenges students to come up with an action plan. Students will learn about the people working to end homelessness in L.A. County and find age-appropriate ways that they can get involved.

Students in grades 1-5 explore ways they can help their neighbors living outside, and commit to actions they can take.

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Learn more about the people working to end homelessness, and what each one of us can do to help, for grades 6-8.

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Students examine civic responsibility and activism and the roles they can play in ending homelessness, grades 9-12.

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Appendix

Additional resources to help you get the most out of the toolkit, find places to volunteer, and connect with the L.A. County Homeless Liaison for your school.

Glossary
Content Standards
Where to volunteer
Children’s books about homelessness
L.A. County Homeless Liaisons