Support following a disaster or community trauma
Following a natural disaster or community trauma, learning communities remain an important protective environment for supporting a child’s recovery.
This can feel overwhelming for educators, as they are required to coordinate a variety of supports and services for children, young people and families, in addition to their regular role within the learning community.
This course has been developed to provide educators with a foundational understanding of their role in the recovery process. It offers a practical framework and tips for supporting children and young people in the immediate aftermath, short-term and long-term following a trauma event, as well as preparedness skills and knowledge you can use in your daily practice and programs.
Who is this course for?
This course is for educators working with children and young people affected by natural disasters (e.g. fires, floods, storms, drought) and community traumas such as terrorism, critical incidents, community violence and the impacts of pandemics.
It has been specifically designed for educators in early learning services and schools and is based on their experiences.
Experiencing a natural disaster personally, and/or being an educator in a community that has recently experienced a natural disaster or community trauma, can be overwhelming.
It is important to take care of yourself and your family by creating strategies that promote resilience, and by putting boundaries in place to ensure your own safety. This will allow you to provide effective, long-term support to children and young people during overwhelming adversities.
As you work through this course, it is important to be aware of your own emotional responses. Please follow the self-care tips below and seek help if needed:
- We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one sitting. Give yourself some breaks. Even if you don’t feel like you need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later.
- Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or worried about your emotional reaction.
- Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course.
For the purpose of this course, the term parent encompasses the biological and adoptive parents of a child or young person as well as individuals who have chosen to take up a primary or shared responsibility in raising that child or young person.
Social and emotional wellbeing refers to the way a person thinks and feels about themselves and others. It incorporates behavioural and emotional strengths, and is a facet of young people’s development.1
In broad terms, social and emotional wellbeing is the foundation for physical and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is a holistic concept which results from a network of relationships between individuals, family, kin and Community. It also recognises the importance of connection to Land, culture, spirituality and ancestry, and how these affect the individual.2
Social and emotional wellbeing is also used by some people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, who may have differing concepts of mental health and mental illness.3
Social and emotional development involves the development of skills required to:
What you'll learn through this module
As you progress through this course, you will be able to:
- understand the potential impact of trauma caused by natural disasters or community trauma on children and young people
- recognise child responses to natural disaster and community trauma in the immediate aftermath, the short-term and the long-term after the event
- identify how learning communities can support children, young people and families to recover from a natural disaster or community trauma in the immediate aftermath, the short-term, and the long-term
- incorporate trauma responsive strategies into the educator role and learning community following natural disasters or community trauma.