Principal and Adoptive Mother Speaks on Supporting Our Kids- Impact of Childhood Trauma in Ontario Schools
Teaching is my profession of choice and I am a lifelong learner who has always been interested in learning about and advocating for children. My best learning has come from my experience of parenting our son who joined our family through adoption at age 10. Our son has been my greatest teacher. It is through his eyes that I learned about the pervasiveness and effects of childhood trauma. The truth is that early childhood trauma is more pervasively harmful and difficult to treat than other types of traumas. Many young children who have been traumatized will not just “get over it”. While children can be resilient, at-risk children from backgrounds of chronic traumatic stress do not have the protective factors in place that lead to resilience.
“The truth is that early childhood trauma is more pervasively harmful and difficult to treat than other types of traumas"
Schools need to support all children to feel safe physically, socially, emotionally, and academically. Children’s traumatic responses and the associated difficulties they can face at school are often rooted in real or perceived threats to their safety that undermine a sense of well-being in fundamental ways. This safety includes not only physical safety but also social and emotional safety, as well as a sense of academic safety needed in order to take risks to advance learning in the classroom. As educators in Ontario, we are grateful to the Adoption Council of Ontario for designing a workshop to bring greater awareness of how to create a school culture that emphasizes a positive, safe and welcoming environment for children who have experienced trauma and make them vulnerable*. Creating school communities of well-being is good for all children.
Principal at St. Alfred Catholic Elementary School
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