This guide from the Australian Childhood Foundation provides information to better understand why traumatised children and young people act and react in the ways they do based on the knowledge base that has arisen from research into the neurobiology of trauma and relationship disruption. Trauma informed practice supports an emphasis on making the school space – its routines, its relationships and its activities in and around its students – facilitative and flexible to the needs of all children and young people, but in particular those who are affected by the consequences of trauma and toxic stress. The acronym SPACE represents five key dimensions that if incorporated into strategies offer the most potential to establish effective opportunities for schools to respond to the needs of traumatised children and young people.
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services provides Monthly Spotlights on issues involving refugee youth. Scroll down the publications section to “Schools” to find articles such as “Involving Refugee Parents in Their Children’s Education” “Refugee Children in U.S. Schools: A Toolkit for Teachers and School Personnel” “Back to School: Challenges and Strengths of Refugee Students” “Serving Children with Little or No Previous Formal Schooling.”
This document includes a series of helpful ideas for teachers dealing with students with varying emotional and behavioural challenges. Although not formally developed for students with refugee or trauma backgrounds, this is very applicable to working with students with traumatic backgrounds. Developed as a teacher-orientation guide to British Columbia’s mental health system, the easy-to-read and downloadable document provides a good understanding of the classroom needs of students with anxiety, depression, attentional issues, psychosis, and other mental health issues. It is important when reading this type of resource, for teachers to avoid diagnosing children, attempting therapy or applying a mental health label to normal behaviours associated with immigrant and refugee settlement and adjustment.
Conscious Discipline is recognized for its approach to integrating classroom management with social-emotional learning, utilizing everyday events as the curriculum and addressing the adult’s emotional intelligence as well as the child’s. Conscious Discipline provides tools for adults to consciously respond to daily conflict by turning it into an opportunity to teach critical life skills to children. Conscious Discipline provide a variety of print resources to assist children with self-regulation.
The Child Trauma Academy is a not-for-profit collaborative, interdisciplinary virtual community of practice which is devoted to improving the lives of high-risk children through direct service, research and education. The CTA translates emerging findings about the human brain and child development into practical implications for caregivers, teachers, and other child protection, mental health and law enforcement systems. While originally focussed on issues related to child abuse and neglect, a range of applications are being explored for children traumatized by war or refugee experiences.
This partner site offers free online courses that offer creative and practical approaches to understanding and working with maltreated children.
This resource, commissioned by the Child Safety Commissioner in Victoria, Australia, assists kindergarten, elementary and secondary teachers and other school personnel in understanding and working with children and youth whose lives have been affected by trauma.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network promotes trauma-informed developmentally and culturally appropriate programs that improve the standard of care for children. The network identifies the types of trauma to which children can be exposed including, for example abuse, bereavement, natural disasters or medical trauma. The network offers an extensive array of resources and reading materials to assist practitioners to understand the effects of trauma. It includes a section for educators about the effects of trauma on learning and provides training and resources to build understanding of trauma and loss, resiliency, emotional awareness and safety.
One section of the NCTSN website highlights resources for understanding the stress that can arise from wartime experiences and resettlement. See: Child and Adolescent Refugee Trauma.
Another resource is a video in which students with refugee backgrounds tell their own stories and the experience of war. An educator’s guide is also available for use with older students. See: Children of War: A video for educators.
This document prepared by the Centre for Multicultural Youth Issues in Melbourne, Australia explores various ways to engage CLD (culturally and linguistically diverse) families. Included are many practical ideas for planning and running effective meetings with CLD parents, and engaging CLD families in schools.