VERO BEACH – Nearly one hundred local early educators explored trauma-informed practices in a recent Childcare Resources professional development seminar, funded by Indian River County Children’s Services Advisory Committee.
With the help of Dr. Peg Oliveira, Executive Director of the Gesell Institute at Yale University, educators explored toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences, the effects of trauma, and, most importantly, what educators can to do help their students build resilience.
“Trauma is not a ‘them thing,’” noted Dr. Oliveira, “it’s an ‘us thing.’”
A common theme throughout the day was the impact of COVID-19 on teaching, both as a profession and in the classroom. Educators shared how their work has changed in the advent of COVID-19 guidance, highlighting that the classroom experiences that help build brains can be harder to create. At the same time, the percentage of children with adverse childhood experiences, events that can create toxic stress and lead to life-long trauma impacts, has increased, Dr. Oliveira emphasized, saying “it begs us to reconsider how we build our classrooms.”
Childcare Resources Early Educator Coaches distributed supplies that can aid in emotional self-regulation, like breathing balls and musical chimes, to workshop attendees. Funded by PNC Grow up Great, these supplies will help local childcare centers incorporate ideas from the workshop. Through the coaching program, local teachers can also work one-on-one with an experienced educator to build a classroom environment that incorporates stable routines and strong relationships, both factors in helping children handle stress.
“It’s not this idea of building a ramp for a few children,” Dr. Oliveira summarized, “it’s about building resilience for all children.”
Childcare Resources of Indian River, a partner agency of the United Way of Indian River County and Indian River County Children’s Services Advisory Committee, elevates and promotes the highest quality early childhood development and education in Indian River County, focusing on economically challenged children and families. To learn more about Childcare Resources, visit ChildcareResourcesIR.org or call 772-567-3202