Faculty Professional Development

ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACEs)

Last week our faculty professional development was focused upon adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their effects upon behavior, physical and mental health. Based upon a study of 17,000 participants, it is estimated that 64% of the population has experienced an ACE in the form of abuse, neglect, and/or household dysfunction, with a direct correlation to health outcomes that may include obesity, diabetes, depression, and more. For a wonderful insight into the study and how childhood trauma can affect health across a lifetime, please take a look at Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’s TED talk by clicking on Nadine Burke Harris-Ted Talk . As educators, we can help to address all children’s needs (even those who have never experienced an ACE) with Trauma-Informed Classroom Practices, including:

  • Providing Social/Emotional Tools to children:
    • Talking about emotions
    • Use of our SecondSTEP character education program
    • Active listening
    • Actual lessons in how to self-calm for improved self-regulation
  • Building Empathy:
    • Engaging in “read-alouds” to discuss a character’s emotions/feelings
    • Studying the behaviors of literary characters to understand choices and effects
  • Establishing the Classroom as a Peaceful, Healing Place:
    • Building a responsive environment
    • Greeting children at the classroom door each morning
    • Prayer
    • Building trust through consistency/follow-through/honesty

By preparing children for challenges later in life, parents and educators can work together to minimize the adverse effects and risks associated with ACEs and childhood stressors. For more information on ACEs go to CDC Information on ACEs