Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention (CECEI)

Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy

Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy Logo - Illustration of adult holding hands with two children

CECEI is in the final stages of developing the Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy (TSP) Toolkit, while simultaneously planning for a broader rollout of the Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy curriculum. TSP is designed to help educators consider the complex nature of trauma and the myriad ways it manifests in children’s learning and development. Just as important as recognizing trauma’s impact on children, we also hope to recognize the impact of trauma on the entire system of support, including teachers.

TSP incorporates the following factors into trauma-informed education to mitigate the risk of burnout and compassion fatigue: 

  • Individual Teacher Factors: well-being, self-efficacy, and other life stressors 
  • Teacher's Problem Solving Skills: cognitive processes directed at transforming a given situation into a goal situation when solutions are not clearly outlined should also be considered since these can also influence teacher-student relationship quality.

Guiding Principles - The teacher's role is to:

  • educate and facilitate pathways between students and resources,
  • focus on effective instructional strategies and in the context of trauma to consider the whole child,
  • protect the privacy of children and families, gathering only enough information and details to understand the child’s learning needs,
  • collaborate with other professionals supporting the child’s development and learning, and
  • continually reflect on your practice with a trauma-informed perspective.

Learning Objectives - Upon completion of the TSP curriculum, educators will:

  • be knowledgeable about:
    • the principles of trauma-informed schools
    • the effects of adverse events on student learning and cognitive development
    • the effects of adverse events on student social, emotional and behavioral development
  • be able to recognize and capitalize on student strengths in order to implement effective student-centered pedagogy.
  • engage in reflective practice around their own beliefs about, and reactions to, traumatic events and how this impacts their classroom pedagogy.
  • implement Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely-Trauma Informed (SMART-TI) goals and strategies in support of student learning and development.
  • leverage school and community-based resources to facilitate a trauma-informed system of support for families, students, and teachers.

Co-Project Directors: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin, University of Maryland; Dr. Carlomagno Panlilio, Pennsylvania State University Funder: Bainum Family Fund