26% of children ages 0-4 have experienced trauma. For these children, a secure emotional attachment is life-changing. However, building connections with children of trauma isn’t easy. It requires empathy, patience, and persistence. When teachers don’t know how to respond to challenging behaviors, their solutions often make the problem worse. These children need to be included, not excluded.
Additionally, 70% of adults have experienced trauma. This means that in classrooms across the nation, teachers are trying to help children heal from trauma while still struggling with their own. For administrators, it’s crucial to support teachers so that they can support children.
In this episode, Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor Abbi Kruse shares five powerful ways for administrators to support teachers in working with children of trauma. Abbi is the founder and executive director of The Playing Field in Madison, Wisconsin. The Playing Field serves children 0-4 and aims to level the playing field by working with homeless children, middle-class children, and Head Start students in one classroom. Listen as Abbi shares her wisdom on building a school culture that empowers teachers to tackle this challenging, vitally important work.
• Although we view children as resilient, young children are more vulnerable to trauma than at any other stage of life.
• Working with children who have experienced trauma is difficult, but we must remember our “why.” These children have experienced so much adversity, but providing just one secure attachment can change their lives and the lives of others around them.
• To be truly effective in working with children of trauma, we must first address our own trauma.
• One administrator can’t possibly offer support for all teachers and children at once. This is why it’s essential to build a united, supportive school culture in which teachers rely on and help one another.
Steps for Tomorrow
• Remember to always keep the mission in front of yourself and your staff. Instead of only focusing on “how” you will possibly accomplish something, remember “why” you’re doing this work.
• Begin celebrating even small successes. Provide teachers with ongoing support and sincere gratitude.
• Invest in professional development. Ensure that your teachers have the skills they need to do the job.
• ConsciousDiscipline.com (https://consciousdiscipline.com/)
• Seven Powers (https://consciousdiscipline.com/methodology/seven-powers/)
• Seven Skills (https://consciousdiscipline.com/methodology/seven-skills/)
• Safe Place (https://consciousdiscipline.com/free-resources/shubert/shuberts-classroom/safe-place/)
• Abbi Kruse, Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor (https://consciousdiscipline.com/professional-development/instructors/abbi-kruse/)
• The NEW Conscious Discipline Book- Expanded and Updated (https://shop.consciousdiscipline.com/collections/conscious-discipline-core/products/the-new-conscious-discipline-book-expanded-updated)
• Creating the School Family (https://shop.consciousdiscipline.com/collections/school-family/products/creating-the-school-family)
• Professional Development (https://consciousdiscipline.com/professional-development/)
• Self-Regulation Value Pack (https://shop.consciousdiscipline.com/collections/the-safe-place/products/self-regulation-value-pack)
• CLASSROOM EDITION: Feeling Buddies Self-Regulation Toolkit (https://shop.consciousdiscipline.com/collections/feeling-buddies/products/feeling-buddies-self-regulation-toolkit-english-only)
:22 What is Conscious Discipline?
:56 Introduction of guest Abbi Kruse
2:02 Developmental trauma
5:54 Helping teachers respond to children with trauma
8:06 Practice #1: Be honest
10:17 Practice #2: Focus on the mission
11:20 Practice #3: Provide teachers with the skills they need
14:11 Practice #4: Build a School Family that supports one another