About this module
Learning communities are often important protective environments to support a child's recovery following a natural disaster or other event that results in community trauma. Educators are uniquely placed to support wellbeing and resilience through these events.
A powerful way for educators to provide this support is through stories. They help children make sense of the changing world around them. Storytelling is already used in the daily approaches of many early learning services and can be adapted to provide therapeutic benefits.
This module provides educators with information about the purpose, benefits, principles and strategies of therapeutic storytelling. It also outlines how to apply these concepts in everyday practice with young children.
Who is this module for?
Storytelling can be therapeutic but this doesn't mean you have to be a therapist to tell stories.
This module helps educators tell children stories in ways that can have therapeutic outcomes.
The content has been developed with educators’ experiences in mind. It is designed to be applied with young children in both early learning services (birth to 5) and in the early primary years (Foundation to Year 2).
It may be particularly relevant for those in learning communities affected by natural disasters (including bushfires, drought, flooding, cyclones and earthquakes) and other events that result in community trauma, such as the impacts of pandemics (e.g., COVID-19), endemics, war, or a death in the learning community.
Throughout the module, the term community trauma is used to describe all of the events previously outlined, unless stated otherwise.
This content is appropriate for educators wanting to help support children emotionally through three phases of community trauma:
- Preparedness: takes place before an event occurs.
- Response: occurs during the event.
- Recovery: occurs after the event.
To learn more about supporting children and young people following a traumatic event in the community, see the Natural disasters and other community trauma module (Responding Together domain) of the Be You Professional Learning.
In the ACT, completing this module will contribute 2.5 hours of ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) accredited professional learning addressing standard 4.4.2 Maintain Student Safety of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
Completing this module will contribute 2.5 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Accredited PD in the priority area of Student/child Mental health addressing standard descriptor 4.1.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.
Registered teachers in every state and territory must ensure you have added your teacher registration number and state or territory to the My Profile page in your Be You account.
See Supporting your existing priorities on the Be You website to find out more about how the Be You Professional Learning aligns with other national frameworks and standards.
How long does this module take?
This module takes around 2.5 hours to complete.
You can stop at any time. The next time you log in, you will return to the last page you viewed.
On each page, a notepad is available by selecting the pencil icon. This feature is not available on mobile devices. We recommend you print your responses as your answers will not be saved.
Practising self-care during and after this module
Preparing for and responding to community trauma can be overwhelming. During these times it's important to take care of yourself by ensuring your own safety.
This applies even if you have not personally been through a community trauma in your community, due to the potential of vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma is a response to learning about trauma that has affected other people, or providing support to those who have been through a traumatic experience.
As you work through this module, please follow the self-care tips below and seek help if needed:
- You don't have to do the whole module 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.
- Take notice of your responses as you progress through the module and after completion. Look for signs that you may be experiencing distress, such as an elevated heart rate or difficulty concentrating.
If you are experiencing any of those strong or uncomfortable feelings outlined above or find yourself needing more support, please take action.
You can speak with a trusted colleague or leader, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263 or access wellbeing resources through the following links:
Educator wellbeing tools - Be You
Mental health services and support helplines - Be You
What are the learning outcomes for this module?
By the end of this module, you will be able to:
- appreciate the importance of therapeutic storytelling in supporting children through natural disasters and other community trauma
- understand the different elements of therapeutic storytelling and how these can be used to support children
- apply basic and advanced therapeutic storytelling techniques in your daily practice
- feel confident in applying therapeutic storytelling techniques.