Trauma-Informed Teaching For Young Learners
It can be common for early childhood educators to deal with kids who have experienced trauma in their everyday life. These traumas can stem from emotional and physical stressors by negligence, domestic violence, or even sexual abuse. Bear in mind when we speak about trauma in children's lives, it can result from multiple situations and people other than parents and family.
The impact of trauma can even get extended to life-long wounds. Trauma has negative neurobiological, behavioral, emotional, and developmental effects. Children who experience trauma can often be more prone to fail a grade in school in comparison to their peers. Therefore, it is absolutely integral for teachers to create trauma-sensitive spaces for young learners where teachers can support children in creating a sense of safety and a positive learning environment.
Early Years Care & Education Program for teachers is essential to combine the essence of education and life skills.
How Trauma-Informed Approach Can Bring Holistic Education In Early Childhood Teaching!
Before we dive deep to understand the how trauma-informed approach can be an overall good angle to bring in early childhood education, we need more about stressor in general and how it impacts a child's life. Bear in mind all stressors are not toxic. The stress we encounter in everyday life allows us to build resilience. However, when situations are chronic and constant and when it hampers the basic sense of safety that’s when it becomes toxic.
For instance, if a child's parents or the primary caregiver are not emotionally available, or is physically/emotionally violence (maybe not to the child but others around them), this sort of exposure to the stressor has a negative impact on the child's development.
Better Emotional & Social Regulation
Kids with a trauma history have difficulty regulating their emotions and interaction with peers. Oftentimes their trauma can translate into behavioral issues too. so it becomes hard for them to associate with the classroom rules and they find it hard to self-regulate their emotions and behavior. These children when receive a trauma-informed space, they slowly learn to conduct themselves and the learning space can amplify their safety needs where a child who has trauma experience becomes more in sync with the teacher.
Fosters Language & Communication Development
Early childhood learners are at a stage where they have just begun to develop their language and communication skills. Unfortunately for trauma experience kids, the process gets hindered. Often times the basic understanding of what is going on around them and how they are supposed to express themselves get chaotic. To support this developmental area, trauma-informed learning space has the capacity to address the root cause of such issues and develop resolutions that are personal and unique to each learner.
How Can You Create Trauma-Informed Classroom!
▣ Eliminate triggers by Minimizing bright colors, lights, noises, visual images, etc.
▣ Have minimal materials on the shelves.
▣ Create a separate space for relaxation.
▣ Keep cultural sensitive decorations.
▣ Eliminate unnecessary restrictions.
▣ Assist children to identify, label, and expressing their emotions
▣ Give them options to make their choices during activities
▣ Break complex tasks into small steps to help them follow directions
▣ Be clear and precise while using instructions
▣ Celebrate uniqueness and individuality.
Above all, teachers must understand children who are or have experienced trauma need love and compassion. Though the impact of trauma can be long-lived, but for children, the experiences can be redirected and reorganized inside the child’s brain by allowing them the time to heal and respond differently to new experiences. Healthy and consistent interaction with early childhood learners can make all the difference. Our focus as teachers needs to come from a place of total kindness to assist them processes their trauma experience where the child can trust the teacher and rebuild their faith in adults.
Early childhood educators when can channel their unconditional love and guidance, through their actions, not only education but their holistic development can be well supported. It can also have a great impact on mitigating the effects of trauma experiences that the child has so far. Early Years Care & Education Program can allow that deeper understanding in child’s psychology to navigate and create a learning space with consistent love and safety.