Trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive education approaches learning with an understanding of the physiological, social, emotional, and academic impacts of trauma and adversity on our students.
Research indicates that strong, stable, and nurturing relationships that foster a feeling of belonging are essential for all students but are absolutely essential for healing with students who have experienced trauma. As educators, we must understand the impact of daily positive interactions with our students. Trauma-informed teaching meets students where they are while supporting them with strong, stable, and nurturing relationships.
(Read the articles: Understanding Trauma-Informed Education and The How and Why of Trauma-Informed Teaching)
As educators, parents, role models, we can start with our thoughts, our words, our actions, withholding our judgments, negative views, and criticism of children and their “behaviour”.
Let us safely assume, believe, and remember that “behaviour” is a form of communication, some of which is reflective of lagging skills in social, emotional, and developmental growth.
Assume all children are trauma-affected and need social and emotional learning instruction and support. Adopting a universal trauma-informed and SEL practice approach benefits everyone, building critical skills like self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and an openness to teamwork and cooperation.
“The roots of health are rhythm and regulation. Rhythm is essential to a healthy body and a healthy mind. Every person in the world can probably think of something rhythmic that makes them feel better: walking, swimming, music, dance, the sound of waves on a beach… We each have our regulating rhythms. Rhythm helps us to calm down; it helps us to regulate.”
-Dr. Bruce Perry