Understanding Trauma's Impact: Optimizing Safety to Enhance Learning

Experts in the area of trauma have deemed trauma to be our greatest public health concern. It is estimated that 1 in 4 children are impacted by trauma. From an education standpoint, this would suggest that 25% of the students in our classrooms struggle with this issue. For some classrooms, particularly those that are densely populated with children living in poverty, children from war-torn countries, and/or children from marginalized communities – the number may be higher. Trauma can have devastating effects on our development, behaviour, as well as our availability to learn. In order to provide our children with optimal learning environments, where they can flourish and grow, it is imperative that administrators, teachers and support staff gain an awareness of trauma and learn how to address some of trauma’s challenging barriers.

This workshop will prepare you with some basic knowledge of trauma, particularly with its impact on our brains as well as our bodies. To ‘know’ you are safe can often be worlds away from ‘feeling’ that you are safe. The importance of relationship can never be underestimated when dealing with a child who has been impacted. As children were never meant to learn from strangers, we will be discussing the importance of attachment and the kind of connection that is required for children to feel safe and taken care of. Strategies and ‘tools’ that will develop and enhance ‘trauma-informed’ environments/classrooms, will be discussed. However, it is my belief that these strategies will become apparent and even – intuitive, as we uncover trauma’s impact.

Finally, it is with great compassion that I address the impact of working with traumatized children. As a social worker within the education system, I hear many stories that are steeped in trauma and grief. I often witness many concerning and even frightening behaviours. I wouldn’t be human if I said that it didn’t take a toll. However, my training as a social worker has provided me with the insight and tools to buffer against vicarious trauma. After having spent the past few years working with teachers, administrators and support staff who are often working much more closely with traumatized children than I am, I worry about the impact on them. Vicarious trauma was not part of their training. It is essential that we get better at caring for ourselves. Not only will we experience greater job satisfaction, but our services and interactions will be more effective and children will have a greater capacity to learn.


Central Alberta Regional Consortium
8 Page Ave
Red Deer, AB

Date & Time:

January 17, 2020 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

For more information and to register, go here.