Trauma, highly stressful or disturbing events in the life of a child, can negatively impact a child’s ability to learn, experience joy and happiness, and create healthy attachments and relationships. Children affected by trauma are being denied their basic human right to learn, grow, and develop optimally—both mentally and physically.
Many young children experience traumatic events in their lives. These traumas may include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; family or community violence; or any other kind of adverse experience. Children may suffer from trying to survive in war or conflict zones, the challenges and disruption of migration, the stress of residing in refugee camps, homelessness, and various forms of neglect. Circumstances that can be traumatic for children also include adoption, foster care, incarceration or death of a caregiver, natural disasters, medical and surgical procedures, and serious accidents. Even if not living in a crisis zone or experiencing an emergency, day-to-day living for many children can become overwhelmingly hectic and demanding, and they may lack the support and nurture they need to help them overcome stressful events.
Children who experience extreme stress and trauma can overcome or mitigate the severe negative impacts by drawing upon a reservoir of resilience. This reservoir can include support from parents, friends, family, school, and community; resources that help alleviate the negative consequences of trauma on daily life; help the child to feel safe at home, school, and in the community; and help the child regain their confidence and develop a positive sense of self-worth.
When caregivers, teachers, school leaders, and community service providers practice Trauma-Informed Care, support Trauma-Sensitive Teaching, and create Trauma-Sensitive Schools, children begin to feel safe, positive, and confident in themselves and their abilities and are able to develop resiliency. Resiliency, or the ability to recover and cope with traumatic events, is a skill that can help children throughout their lives.
Childhood Education International offers unique and multifaceted resources and services to support educators and caregivers in their adoption and application of trauma-informed practices. We promote a range of trauma-informed practices that center on relationship-building in the workplace, with an emphasis on reflection and inquiry, parallel process, and reflective supervision grounded in relationship-based practice.