In follow-up to this post, I wanted to share a quick strategy that is deceptively simple yet sets the stage for social-emotional learning:
Edutopia recently shared this video about Peace Corners:
It’s simple, right? Set up a comfy corner, invite students to use it to take a break, add in a little reflection sheet. Yet, there are so many layers to how this can help students:
Honors and respects students’ autonomy by choosing when to take a break
Gives students a safe and non-shaming “out” (since it’s open to everyone in the class)
Encourages reflection and development of self-knowledge through reflection sheets
Creates space within the classroom community rather than asking to students to leave the classroom community completely
Provides sensory tools for self-regulation
Helps students internalize self-management skills that are transferable across settings
Communicates care and a whole-school commitment to social/emotional support
Peace corners – or any other name you choose to call this self-regulation space – are a simple, visible way to incorporate social/emotional support. It’s a trauma-informed strategy that benefits all students. I’m trying one this year with a mixed-elementary age extracurricular class – I’ll update on how it goes!
This post is intended to be a jumping-off point for those seeking to become more trauma-informed in their education practice. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list of resources, but rather a collection of accessible places to start to get familiar with concepts and strategies.
I would love to add onto this list, especially in some areas of intersection: trauma informed and… (specific populations, identities, and settings). Please be in touch or comment below if you have resources to share!
The 12 Core Concepts (National Child Traumatic Stress Network) – this is a fantastic resource to give you the foundations of knowledge you need for working with students who have experienced trauma. This is also a great resource to share with coworkers, parents and other caregivers to start developing some common language and understanding of these concepts.
The Basics: Understandings and Strategies
These posts and videos will help you get a “Trauma 101” understanding of the major background information you need to start with trauma-informed practice.
Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators(from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network) – more comprehensive (while still being succinct and clear) guide around understanding and supporting students who have experienced trauma. Send this one to your principal!
Big Picture Approaches
While these approaches aren’t specific to students with trauma, they support a school community where trauma-affected youth can thrive.
Restorative Practices (International Institute for Restorative Practices) – when thinking about trauma-informed practice, “discipline” must be reimagined, and restorative practices is a great path forward.
Teacher Self-Care and Wellness
It’s essential that educators take care of themselves while they take care of others. These resources highlight the “why” and the “how.”
When Schools Cause Trauma (Teaching Tolerance) – an essential perspective on how schools can perpetuate trauma and inequity, and how we might disrupt this
Toxic Stress (Harvard Center on the Developing Child) – simple explainer (with video and visuals) on the concept of toxic stress. For more on the impact of racism as it relates to chronic/toxic stress, see this article in The Atlantic by Melinda D. Anderson