The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom – A Workshop for Elementary Teachers
Addressing trauma’s impact on relationships, behavior, and academics so ALL Kids can learn
Almost half the nation’s children have experienced at least one or more types of serious childhood trauma, according to a new survey on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). This translates into an estimated 34.8 million children nationwide. Childhood adversities increase as a child grows older, and decrease as family income rises. Nevertheless, ACEs are still experienced by more than one in three children under the age of six. Even in higher income families, more than one in four children have ACEs.
Every successful classroom addresses the emotional well-being of the students. Current studies show more than 61 percent of school-age students have some form of traumatic stress. In high-poverty schools, more than two-thirds of your class is adversely affected. Students bring this with them when they enter your classroom. It increases behavior problems and inhibits students’ ability to focus, engage, reason, and listen. This is the added burden that teachers experience as stress, additional workload, and frustration.
Violence is just one among many types of childhood trauma. The ACE Study found that violence is not more – or less — damaging than divorce, living with a parent who’s an alcoholic, being yelled at nearly every day of your childhood, or emotional neglect. Just as important, it rarely happens alone. If a child is experiencing violence, there’s usually some other type of trauma happening, too. The results are children with toxic stress. This toxic stress – the kind that comes from living with a physically and verbally abusive alcoholic parent, for example – damages the function and structure of a kid’s brain. Toxic stress floods the brain with stress hormones. When a kid’s in
This toxic stress – the kind that comes from living with a physically and verbally abusive alcoholic parent, for example – damages the function and structure of a child’s brain. Toxic stress floods the brain with stress hormones. When a child is in “fight, flight or freeze” mode, their thinking brain is offline and doesn’t develop as it should. Kids experiencing trauma act out. They can’t focus. They can’t sit still. Or they withdraw. Fight, flight or freeze – that’s a normal and expected response to trauma. So they can’t learn. Their schools respond by suspending or expelling them, which further traumatizes them.
Recent research findings reveal almost half of the nation’s children have experienced at least one or more types of serious childhood trauma. It’s hardly a wonder that educators have difficulty in helping children focus, get along with others, and engage in our classrooms.
This 9-hour workshop (choose either 3 half days or 2 full days), classroom teachers learn the skills and techniques that counteract and defuse trauma and help children succeed academically, socially and emotionally. These techniques are not an add-on to your curriculum, but the framework within which we make instruction easier to deliver, reduce interruptions, foster better student behaviors and build student self-efficacy and academic growth.
For more information or to bring this workshop to your school or site – see the workshop descriptions in the links below.
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