The Importance of Children’s Health Through Teachers' Eyes
By Alexandra Andrews
The Children's Movement of Florida
As an elementary-school teacher, I have witnessed how children's well-being can influence whether they master academic concepts in school. I also know how their well-being can positively or negatively affect other areas of their lives outside of academia.
The dictionary defines well-being as "the state of being happy, healthy, or successful." Common sense tells us that many factors contribute to well-being, with physical health being one of them.
If a student's health is compromised due to a cold or broken leg, his or her ability to learn can be understandably affected. If children are having a hard time viewing the white board because their vision is weak, they might face an added challenge in mastering the concept being taught.
It is my belief that all children deserve to have their physical health be taken care of in the best of ways to set them up for success.
Unfortunately, more than 377,000 Florida children do not have health insurance. Of that number, 230,000 are fully eligible for subsidized insurance coverage, but their parents or caregivers have not enrolled them.
In addition to being a teacher, I am a master's degree student in Community and Social Change at the University of Miami. It is a wonderful program for anyone who is inspired to help change the world.
This graduate program requires its students to complete a practicum. I have been fortunate to do mine at The Children's Movement of Florida, a grassroots advocacy organization filled with integrity that fights for social justice for preschool-age children. As part of my practicum, my research looked at uninsured children 0-6. I learned about a program called KidCare, through which "the state of Florida offers health insurance for children from birth through age 18, even if one or both parents are working."
The great part about KidCare insurance is that it is free or low cost, depending on a person's eligibility.
The existence of a program like that begs the question why so many Florida children are uninsured, especially those who are already eligible for KidCare.
One reason might be because many parents and guardians are unaware of it. I encourage all parents and guardians to visit the Florida KidCare website and learn about how their children can get health coverage.
The Children's Movement of Florida believes that all children deserve to be covered by health insurance, and so do I. In having all of them have insurance, we are helping them to reach their full potential, and increase their chances of having a strong sense of well-being.
Alexandra Andrews, the lead third-grade teacher at St. Agnes Academy in Key Biscayne, is a graduate student focused on community and social change at the University of Miami's School of Education. She is on track to earn her master's degree in December 2016.