Trauma-Sensitive Early Education

Helping Pre-School & Elementary Students Thrive!

Trauma-Sensitive Early Education


Publication date: 10/06/19

Format: Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook

ISBN: 9781537871745


Today, in every community around the world, something is going to happen to an innocent child. If left untreated, this single event will threaten to drastically increase the chance that the child will get cancer, an autoimmune disease, diabetes, or a sexually transmitted infection such as HIV. Besides medical issues, these children are also more likely to fail in school, become involved in the criminal justice system, experience homelessness, develop mental illness and drug addictions, struggle with unemployment and poverty, and experience domestic violence. Ultimately, the child is at risk of losing 20 years off their life expectancy.

Thankfully, this child will walk into a school tomorrow. Ideally positioned to identify what happened to the child and facilitate treatment, schools play a unique and life-saving role in the future health and well-being of these children. Those lucky enough to get proper support and treatment not only dramatically lower their risk for the psychological, medical, and social risks listed above, they transform their pain and suffering into a powerful type of resilience that serves them well throughout the rest of their lives.

What is this powerful event? Childhood trauma. The majority of students will experience some form of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, family struggles or dysfunction, racism, homelessness, or poverty by their eighteenth birthday, potentially robbing them of their ability to thrive academically and establish a meaningful quality of life. Our growing knowledge of trauma is a call to action for every person that works in education and cares about the children in their community.

Trauma-Sensitive Early Education: Helping Pre-School & Elementary Students Thrive! demonstrates the devastating effects that trauma inflicts on students, and how the resulting anguish manifests in the classroom as academic and behavioral struggles. Understanding the problem is just the first part of the journey taken in the book. This in-depth exploration guides educators in the process of creating dynamic classrooms and lessons that help students with trauma experience social and academic success.

Current educational approaches work well for most students coming from stable healthy homes with economic stability and the skills necessary to succeed socially and academically. Unfortunately, the students who are left behind struggle, not because of a lack of motivation or some conscious desire to misbehave, but because the current system is not designed to identify and help treat the root cause of their struggles. These kids are not “bad kids”; they are victims of untreated traumatic events that happened to them due to no fault of their own.

Students with untreated trauma lack the skills to succeed in current models of academic instruction and behavioral management. Without an understanding of the effects of trauma, educators focus on the behaviors, thus missing opportunities to connect the student to resources and to help them build the skills they failed to learn at home. The great news is that the trauma-sensitive approaches put forth in Trauma-Sensitive Early Education are best practices for all students, improving the educational experience for everyone.

After helping educators establish trauma-sensitive classrooms, the book examines school-wide strategies and behavioral-management approaches that help create a safe environment, while simultaneously getting help for students with trauma. Traditional models punish, suspend, and retraumatize students, furthering the psychological, academic, and social struggles. A shift in paradigms provides real solutions that help solve the underlying problems, improve school performance, and create ideal learning environments for all students.

Finally, the book will further examine the need to reform an antiquated educational system that is failing too many students and communities. Traditionally, students with trauma quickly fall into pipelines to prison and poverty. Understanding trauma’s impact helps us understand that it is not these kids that are failing in our schools; instead, our schools and traditional approaches to education are failing these students.

Trauma-Sensitive Early Education provides a complete guide for teachers, school administrators, parents, policy-makers, and all those who care about children and education, by providing a desperately needed paradigm shift in philosophy and approach. Once people understand that students who struggle do so because they are victims of a treatable condition, it serves as a wake-up call to ensure that every child gets the support and education they need to live a meaningful life. So many of the larger social problems facing our communities result from these students failing to get the help they need during their critical developmental years