With the devastation of the catastrophic Australian bushfires this past summer and more recently the floods across NSW/ACT and QLD-NT, early childhood teachers will have a critical role in supporting children as their families and the wider community come to terms with the trauma associated with these events.
As Emeritus Professor Marjory Ebbeck writes “teachers hold a unique position in the world of young children, as they are the most significant and trusted adults children know outside their family.” (see full article)
When traumatic events such as the recent natural disasters occur, children may experience extreme feelings of confusion, pain and negative emotions which impact on their behaviour in the classroom.
Teachers need to understand how to help children develop emotionally, be able to express their feelings and build resilience.
Early childhood teachers frequently deal with students who experience trauma from a variety of factors.
As such, a trauma informed learning approach should be embedded in their professional practice and judgements.
An example is children in out-of-home care (OOHC) and the role of early childhood teachers in building the protective factors in a child’s life whilst at kindergarten (see full article).
There are numerous programs that work in conjunction with early childhood teachers to help support children.
Trauma experienced by children also affects family members and the wider community and this can have a significant impact on early childhood teachers (see full article).
Our union plays an important role in offering support for early childhood teachers through professional development including such events as the inaugural ‘dealing with trauma’ online course run by IEUA NSW/ACT Branch following the bushfires.
We can also connect members with psychological support services and to that end members who are needing assistance in dealing with trauma are encouraged to contact our union for details of support services.