Principal and Adoptive Mother Speaks on Supporting Our Kids- Impact of Childhood Trauma in Ontario Schools

Date: January 4, 2018 Author: ACO Administrator Categories: Parent Perspective
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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.

Lori DeWitte,

Principal at St. Alfred Catholic Elementary School

 
*With the assistance of educators, parents, children and youth, the Adoption Council of Ontario has recently developed a Workshop for Ontario's teachers and educators. The Workshop, Trauma & Loss: Creating School Communities of Well-being is available to schools and school boards in Ontario on request.
 
All teachers have children in their classes who are dealing with the impact of trauma and loss in their lives.  Some through their journeys of foster care and adoption, and others through immigration as refugees, violence in the home, conflict in parental separation and divorce, or a serious illness or death in the family. The Workshop was designed specifically for teachers and other educators to build greater awareness of how to create a school culture that emphasizes a positive, safe and welcoming environment for children who experience foster care, adoption and other situations that make them vulnerable. Creating school communities of well-being is good for all children. The Workshop will give teachers materials and tools to create safe and trauma-sensitive classrooms for all students. 
 
We're happy to announce that the Workshop will also be available to teachers and educators in five cities across Ontario (Barrie, Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Toronto) during March break.

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