Trauma-informed education is becoming increasingly popular as educators are striving to create safe and supportive learning environments for their students. The focus is not only on academic success but also on the emotional well-being of students. Trauma-informed education aims to recognize the impact of trauma on students, their behavior, and academic performance, and, thus, to create a positive school culture.
According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, over 46% of children have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) that can have a long-term impact on their mental, physical, and emotional health. ACEs can range from abuse, neglect, parental substance use, divorce, and more.
Trauma can cause a child to feel overwhelmed, unsafe, and disconnected from their environment. These feelings can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and various behavioral issues that can negatively affect a child’s academic performance.
A trauma-informed approach to education considers the effects of ACEs on children and focuses on providing support and a safe environment for students. This approach also recognizes that each child may respond to trauma differently and may require different types of support.
Here are some ways in which a trauma-informed approach can positively impact student success:
1. Improved behavior: Children who have experienced trauma may have difficulty regulating their emotions and behavior. They may act out, become distracted, and be unable to focus on their work. A trauma-informed approach can help teachers recognize these behaviors as a result of trauma, rather than simply “bad behavior.” In turn, teachers can provide support, alternative behaviors to try or adjust their interventions to better align with the specific needs of the child.
2. Improved relationships: A trauma-informed school culture is built around an understanding of the needs of each child and an emphasis on creating positive relationships. This approach fosters a sense of safety, trust, and social-emotional learning that can lead to healthy relationships with teachers and peers. Healthy relationships can encourage students to participate more actively in the classroom and feel more motivated to succeed.
3. Academic success: With students feeling safer, trauma-informed approach helps build their self-awareness, self-regulation and coping skills that can improve their ability to focus on learning, follow instructions and participate in class. It has been shown that students from a trauma-informed education background exhibit improved test scores, engagement, and attendance.
Overall, trauma-informed education is a positive step in providing a safe and supportive learning environment for children who have experienced trauma. It is important for schools to recognize that trauma can significantly impact a child’s academic and personal success. Implementing trauma-informed practices can help students feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. When children feel support, they can thrive and achieve their full potential.