Creating Trauma Sensitive Classrooms and Schools

We highly encourage anyone going into the field of education to become familiar with the Adverse Childhood Experience Study. Known as ACE, this research was conducted by the American health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The participants were chosen in the mid-nineties and have been followed up as they matured. The study is frequently cited as a landmark in research and has demonstrated a direct association of adverse childhood experiences with physical and emotional health issues in later life.

Ten types of childhood trauma were identified: 

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Distractibility- Another Perspective

I had one of my ‘aha’ moments in physical therapy a few days ago and I’ve been thinking about this whole notion of ‘distractibility’ ever since.

I’m a pretty intelligent adult, with many academic credentials and yet I watched myself acting like a grade-school student who really didn’t care much for the lesson my teacher was so kindly trying to explain to me.

You see, my therapist has been working on an issue I’ve been having with my shoulder and she was concerned with the lack of progress. After my treatment, she invited me into another room and took out a moveable model of the shoulder. She started to patiently explain all the detailed parts, how the muscles, tissues, etc. fit together and how they affect each other. I realized that my mind wasn’t keeping up with the scientific explanation because I started to think about what I was going to eat for lunch. I knew her lips were moving but my mind was elsewhere.

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The Gift of Trust

The holiday season is in full swing and this is the time of the year I find myself cringing as I observe parents in ‘high gear’ as they unintentionally put stress on themselves and the rest of their family. While the authentic desire to create some kind of magical holiday celebration is usually the impetus to the endless chaos of shopping, baking, cooking and decorating, many families wind up enduring stressed out days leading up to the big event.

Just yesterday, as I walked out of the supermarket to my car I watched a parent screaming at her two children to stop whining and asking for things. The three of them looked miserable as they passed the bell ringer who was cheerfully wishing them a “Merry Christmas!”

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Tantrums vs. Meltdowns

It is important as educators to use appropriate terminology whenever possible. One point of confusion for some early childhood specialists revolves around tantrums and meltdowns. While these words are often used interchangeably they actually have very different meanings.

Tantrums are either a manifestation of learned behavior or a result of built up stress. Sensory meltdowns happen when sensory input triggers an uncontrollable neurological response. Tantrums can be “stopped” even at the peak of breakdown because they are not being driven by neurology, whereas sensory meltdowns must run their course and can last several hours.

 

MANIPULATIVE TANTRUMS

Manipulative tantrums usually start off innocently and without much deliberate thought. Adults sometimes —unconsciously— contribute to this type of tantrum by being inconsistent with rules, routines or boundaries.

Children learn to push back when our “No” is inconsistent. If whining, persisting or demanding is eventually given in to it reinforces ‘manipulative’ behavior. Manipulative tantrums tend to happen with children who learn to have their wants and needs met through unhealthy behavior.

Having established rules and age appropriate consistent routines in place can prevent manipulative tantrums. It is imperative that the expectations placed on children are within their developmental ability, otherwise frustration will ensue.

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5 ‘School to Home’ Insights From Super Teachers

 

As a new school year begins we want to share some of the most valuable methods employed by ‘super teachers.’ These insights, when adopted by conscious parents, can transform life at home. If you are just beginning your teaching career this can serve as a basis for implementing desired results and early achievement. Share these ideas with your families and be the model of all you aspire them to be. 

The following 5 practices used by master teachers have a direct and positive impact on the flow of a day while also encouraging responsibility, self-regulation, and cooperation in young children.

 

1. Control the environment, not the child. 

Experienced teachers have learned that trying to control children often creates power struggles, outbursts and frustration. They know it is worth their time and energy to set up the environment in a way that children will not get their hands on grown up materials. Labeling bins and shelves with photos and words not only creates physical orderliness (which helps with behavioral orderliness) but it also serves the dual purpose of reading readiness. It is the adult, rather than the child, who takes responsibility for the amount of clutter, availability and safety of the environment.

Home Hint: Has your child ever gotten his hands on your cell phone, television remote, car keys, laptop, doughnuts, chips, or dog food? Are so many toys available that the mess becomes overwhelming very quickly?  If so, it’s probably time to be more conscious of how your home environment is organized and if it is working for or against you.

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