Young girl smiling at camera while riding a scooter in Glendene daycare



We all want our children to succeed in life. Your idea of what success looks like might be a happy child, someone else might think success is a child that is learning to their full potential and someone else might think a successful child is one that is obedient and behaves by the rules. Whichever way, we need to ensure your child has a full kete in order for them to achieve success. This means we must meet their needs. Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ demonstrates 5 levels of different needs that adults and children’s lives are motivated by. The needs at the bottom of the pyramid are more important and must be met first in order to meet the needs at the top and for the person to meet their full potential and gain success.

Here is a basic pyramid that displays the needs in order

Maslow Heirachy of Needs Pyramid

Physiological needs are needed for survival. For a child this might look like: food, drink, shelter, warmth and sleep. These are the basics and most important, without these the child cannot function and without them a child can have long term physical and mental health issues.

Security and safety are next on the pyramid. For a child, his parents or caregivers are his security blanket and should provide routine, predictability and control in their lives. This is what the government, police, employers etc do for us as adults. A child needs to feel safe and secure in his home and with his family.

The need for love and belonging is a social need of your child. This need motivates behaviour. For example, if a child is shown love he will mimic that and will guide his social interactions for the rest of his life. If he sees violence or antisocial behaviours the child is more likely to exhibit the same kind of behaviour. Some positive examples to teach your child include friendship, trust and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love.

Esteem needs are split into two. Self esteem and esteem from others. For a child to demonstrate or actualise self esteem, he must receive respect, notice or praise from others first. Children have an internal need to please those around them. Then they can realise esteem for themselves for example dignity, achievement and independence.

Self actualization is at the top of the pyramid. This is achieved when all the other needs on the pyramid are met. A child can now reach their full potential, learn at their best, challenge themself and be the best person they can be. This is the stage when they are ready to learn.

What if my child doesn’t have their needs met at the bottom of the pyramid?

Children who don’t have their basic needs met often struggle academically and also struggle with social skills such as making and keeping friends. When those needs have been met, your child will have what they need to succeed now and later in life. The same rules apply for family and caregivers, your needs must be met as well. Adults also achieve to their best potential when their basic needs are met. How you meet these needs for your child might look different in each household as family dynamics differ or circumstances differ but the foundation of the pyramid stays the same and has the same outcome.

Please reach out if you need help meeting your child’s or your own needs. There is always a way to meet these needs. You could ask: the teachers at Our Kids, your GP, or whanau/friends. Below are some links which may be useful. 

Please ask us if you need help to access these services.

Incredible Years for Parents

the fono

Te Whanau o Waipareira


Family support from the Ministry of Social Development

Family Works

Disability Support

Emma Gill, ECE teacher at Our Kids Early Learning Glendene.

Emma Hutchings

Bachelors of Education (ECE)

ECE Teacher at Our Kids Glendene

Emma Hutchings is a freshly qualified and registered teacher at Our Kids Glendene. She is passionate about making a positive impact in every child’s life. She aims to support children to become active and participating citizens by building positive reciprocal relationships and supporting them gaining a sense of belonging.

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