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The Trauma of COVID-19: Readying minds and practices for reopening - Shared screen with speaker view
Deborah Gardner
24:26
Debbie Gardner, Alef Bet CC, Cambridge, MA
Anna Hartman
26:43
—Welcoming Dr. Amanda Moreno. Dr. Moreno is an Associate Professor at Erikson Institute in Chicago, where she directs the Child Development program, teaches and advises master’s and doctoral students, and conducts research in social and emotional learning (SEL), mindfulness-based interventions in schools, and interventions to alleviate the effects of toxic stress and trauma in the context of families and schools. She was the PI of the largest federally-funded study to-date of a mindfulness-based social and emotional learning program in grades K-2, in high-poverty schools in Chicago. She is the lead developer of Erikson’s new master’s degree specialization in SEL, including courses such as “The Neuroscience of SEL” and “Inclusive and Trauma-Informed Behavior Guidance.” Her department at Erikson, entitled the SEL Initiative, conducts original research, evaluation support, and professional development, all with the aim of creating compassionate schools that nurture whole-child wellbeing.
Anna Hartman
28:38
—Shout out to JUF (The Jewish United Fund), with whom Erikson has partnered many times.
Anna Hartman
29:28
—Trauma-responsive teaching is good teaching for all.
Anna Hartman
30:06
—Trauma-responsive teaching means establishing an attachment-oriented classroom. And doesn’t require clinical training.
Abby Aloni
31:16
A recording of this webinar will be posted at jparadigm.org
Jenna Turner
31:25
https://www.jparadigm.org/webinars.html
Anna Hartman
31:55
—A Little Quiz: Is this trauma? The best answers are A and B.
Anna Hartman
33:08
—Trauma really means things happening to a child that are out of their control, by another person most often (or natural or other distorters). But overall doesn’t matter what we call it—what matters are the bevariors you see in front of you and how they manifest.
Anna Hartman
33:22
—As an intro, this is how I categorize the various types of childhood adversity.
Anna Hartman
34:10
—We can see on the top the actual events that occur and then we see the internal reactions. Helpful to separate the event and the child’s internal reaction to the events.
Anna Hartman
34:26
—Looking at the bad news first. But then will get better ;)!
Anna Hartman
34:58
—Events lead to cascade of thing that can happen with adults. Inside the body of the child, after chrinic reaction to things unpredictable—stress system goes to overload or turns off.
Anna Hartman
35:44
—Some evidence that overreaction is more noticeable, whereas underreactive is more withdrawn. Some evidence that the withdrawn type is more at-risk. Need to look out for both.
Anna Hartman
36:26
—When child comes to school, asking child to do things that require slowing down and some risk taking. This is difficult to do for kids whose biology is chronically in fight or flight.
Anna Hartman
36:50
—A rational adaptation but it comes at an enormous developmental cost. Helps kids survive, but comes at a cost.
Anna Hartman
37:13
—The bad news is that it doesn’t have to be toxic for chronic or awful to have multiple layers of impact on the child.
Anna Hartman
38:39
—Example of research from Mitchell et al. Suggests that “harsh parenting” speeds up development, ages us. Even moderate stress can have deep genetic effect on kids.
Anna Hartman
40:34
—Research from Graham et al. With infants. Looking at normal arguing between parents. With baby brain scan, exposed children in angry tone of voice from an adult. The babies with parents with higher levels of verbal arguments were hyper vigilant in their response.
Anna Hartman
41:05
—Point? Doesn’t require severe events to impact children’s stress.
Anna Hartman
41:52
—Brain Bandwidth. All of us have limited cognitive space. If being taken up by lots of things, won’t be room available for things like learning.
Anna Hartman
42:18
—Recommends book: Scarcity by Mullainathan and Shafir
Anna Hartman
43:47
—Book shows that all you have to do is tell someone to pretend they don’t have money, their performance on a cognitive test will decrease. Thus much support is needed from us to help children wit the multiple stressors around them.
Anna Hartman
44:30
—Thinking about temperament, this graphic is from the orchid hypoythesis.
Anna Hartman
45:07
—The orchid (fragile) versus a dandelion (robust).
Anna Hartman
45:35
—Genetic, biological underpinnings beneath these ideas of temperament.
Anna Hartman
45:44
—Why is preschool stressful?!
Anna Hartman
45:59
—Remember: development alone is hard!
Anna Hartman
46:15
—Change is hard! Growing is hard!
Anna Hartman
46:53
—Think about how in school you are never in a state of mastery; for some kids more true that following school rules (so different from home) is stressful.
Anna Hartman
47:40
—In non-normative examples, the testing and accountability culture in schools; school personnel need better self-care; and there is unnatural pacing and transitions in programs.
Anna Hartman
47:44
—And then the pandemic.
Anna Hartman
48:43
—When we are asking educators to respond to trauma and stress from normal circumstances, educators have so much room to deal wit this. But now we are ALL experiencing certain types of uncertainties that we didn’t before.
Anna Hartman
49:19
—We all need to feel tender for ourselves, as we all go through this
Anna Hartman
50:16
—Thus whatever the reason or the label: trauma-responsive teaching is the bedrock for all teaching. This way we are prepared for when anyone hits their limit. It’s all about attachment.
Anna Hartman
50:35
—To get more practical: 4 quick steps or principles.
Anna Hartman
50:48
—1. Love causes learning (be a secure base for children)
Anna Hartman
50:59
—2. Connect before you direct
Anna Hartman
51:10
—Positivity and repair (5:1 ratio)
Anna Hartman
51:24
—4. Resilience is a result of buffering
Anna Hartman
54:18
—1. Love causes learning. There was a time that it was revolutionary to say that the more secure the attachment, the quicker you pick up when distressed, the more secure they feel. This is the secure base phenomenon. The back and forth process pictured is a child refueling. The love and security they get from the secure base makes them safe enough to go out and explore, be brave, feel bold and ready to step out of comfort zone. This is talking about parents, and of course looks different for educators. But is similar. For example, when a child shows you a piece of artwork, this is an opportunity for attaching, a chance for educator to become a secure base. A chance to help the child refuel. A precious opportunity.
Anna Hartman
56:02
2. Connect before you direct. Lot of research on greetings. Can’t always stand at the door as in older grades, but the point is the same. We want the children to feel seen and heard immediately. Look on Youtube for examples of greetings—may be a little cheesy and needs adjustment for pandemic, maybe more singing—but key!
Anna Hartman
56:33
—Make more connections with home, let children process feelings from home.
Anna Hartman
57:44
3. Positivity and Repair, or 5:1 ratio. Much to learn from marital research. A researcher who could predict divorce. If a 5:1 ratio of positive:negative comments, then relationship would survive. Even higher for children. Emerging research on this with children.
Anna Hartman
59:02
—Make sure you see that that one is in there. This is a one and not a zero. That is why that repair piece is so important. Sometimes adults too reluctant to do that. There is no point in beating yourself up. The repair is a hundred times more important that whatever grumpiness occured.
Anna Hartman
01:01:12
—4. Let’s move away from resilience toward buffering. Children are not like rubber, just bouncing back. Scars indeed are left. Want to do what we can. Don’t need to cure a whole situation, but where we have responsibility we cant to take that seriously. Resilience is the outcome you get (not a process itself) when the adult engages a buffering process. Instead of “child will be fine” how about “child needs my protection.” From bouncing back to softening the landing.
Anna Hartman
01:01:38
—Just a moment.
Anna Hartman
01:02:15
—Orly Zimmerman-Liezerov, LCSW-C, is a highly experienced therapist working with children and families and specializing in early childhood. Orly integrates holistic, mindful and strengths-based approaches to assessment and intervention with playful and expressive approaches. Orly serves as a mental health preschool consultant and a trainer and enjoys helping educators understand the roots of behaviors and apply strength based strategies to support children. Through the lens of relationships and child development, Orly guides parents and teachers in customized strategies for supporting the unique needs of each child. She holds a master’s in social work from the University of Maryland as well as a master’s in Developmental Psychology and Communication from George Mason University. Orly is invested in developing tools and thinking outside the box to support children and families during this time by providing webinars, parent consults, social skills groups and teleplay therapy sessions.
Anna Hartman
01:05:25
—Now that we have discussed principles, let’s talk about this in the classroom.
Anna Hartman
01:08:03
—In the hopeful spirit of Mr. Rogers, let’s look at post-traumatic growth as a rainbow. Looking at optimal functioning zone on top. Children who have experienced stress and trauma have a small window of tolerance—can rapidly move between two ends or get stuck in one. We need to help them expand this window and tolerance.
Anna Hartman
01:09:04
—Teacher’s role in supporting children’s Post-traumatic growth and healing. How? By increasing opps for children to process and express difficult feelings; strengthen relationships and sense of connection; promote a sense of control; foster a sense of belonging.
Anna Hartman
01:09:23
—Play is most effective way to do this.
Anna Hartman
01:10:03
—“Play is the highest form of research” (Einstein). Serious business, can lead to high level learning. First language of children. How they navigate stress and build mastery.
Anna Hartman
01:13:28
—As we look at processing through play, let’s think about play themes we have seen. Usually based on what the children has encountered—familiar experiences, different roles, processing unusual experiences. The playing of new roles allows children to develop empathy. Play to process an unusual experience is research process for children to make sense of it. Child can get stuck in same theme when anxious or high-stress/trauma was experienced. When an adult witnesses this, this is key info for the adult about what child is processing. Thus stuck play in a child is sending a message—and is hard to transition from for such a child. This can look like behavior of not listening. They are really just so wrapped up in their research.
Anna Hartman
01:15:01
—What can we do when this happens? Provide more time for children to play and understand. Window of tolerance is limited; can we find flexibility to let them linger? When not possible, provide time to sit wit them, use a timer, ways to move them gently along. Want to validate how important their story is, make a plan to pick it back up, capture it.
Anna Hartman
01:16:51
—Stuck play not easily influenced by others. Not easily shareable with others. Increased guarding behaviors. Helpful for teachers to reframe our thoughts to see this is a strong indication of how important this research is for this child.
Anna Hartman
01:17:42
—Play themes we might expect due to the pandemic? Let’s have materials ready and/or open-ended materials for this research. Eg Doctor materials.
Anna Hartman
01:18:15
—Scientists creating vaccines could be a kind of play we might see. Can involve extreme scenarios. Let’s not be alarmed by this.
Anna Hartman
01:18:49
—For emergency play, let’s look for materials that support playing community helpers, emergency workers.
Abby Aloni
01:19:14
Please feel free to begin to put any questions you may have in the Q & A tab.
Anna Hartman
01:19:40
—This play often involves a sense that something is coming or that something has happened. But not always a sign of what the crisis is. Story of a child experiencing sickness in family but acting out tornado.
Anna Hartman
01:21:00
—Family play! House accessories, food, baby dolls, hats, bags. Sometimes children will replay family dynamics, but not always literal. If a child is hitting two dolls, not necessarily bc this is happening at home, but rather a sign of processing other stressful feelings.
Anna Hartman
01:21:13
—Caretaking may emerge as a theme—let’s have our classrooms ready.
Anna Hartman
01:22:00
—Think about setting up ways to process parents working from home.
Anna Hartman
01:23:21
—We see that children’s world’s have gotten so much smaller physically bc of travel limitations in the past months. Children have expressed confusion about where their houses are located.
Anna Hartman
01:24:18
—Tow other common play themes these days: school teacher (school-like materials, including screens and tablets). Helps children explore many different themes. With the changes to school, we see a need to explore all that has happened.
Anna Hartman
01:25:15
—A second play theme is grocery store. Play food, pretend credit cards, old phones, cash registers. Also masks. Allows children to explore resource gathering. Lets them explore limits.
Anna Hartman
01:28:10
—When we think about facilitating processing through play, want to think about following child’s lead in the story line. We should refrain from redirecting. Child may invite you to be a bystander role. If you are invited to join in, follow child’s lead about how active or passive they want you to be. You can go behind the scene to ask the child if you are doing the voice just right, or getting the role right in the way the child desires. Commentator/narrator is a role you can potentially play, if you are invited to do that. If you need to make any kind of correction or address something, make a note to yourself to address later, rather than disrupt the child’s process.
Anna Hartman
01:29:01
—Hide and seek is extremely important type of play in ECE, especially in times of separation (as now, with pandemic). Imp to encourage to facilitate this kind of play even more. Dev. Of object permanence occurs in stages.
Anna Hartman
01:30:52
—You can hide objects, at advancing stages of difficulty. Can switch roles with the child. Don’t challenge outside of of each child’s window of tolerance.
Anna Hartman
01:32:19
—Use play to strengthen a sense of connection with self. References Laurie Berkner and her website for finding such a song. Great yoga and mindfulness (minndfulnessschools.org) resources out there to aid in this process. Nature another great tool for this. Go out to nature and bringing nature in. Growing seeds, taking care of pets. Helping children feel really a part of natural environment.
Anna Hartman
01:33:29
—Imp part of understanding the self is understanding their feelings. Play key for this. Identifying them, labeling them. Want to read books about feelings to normalize. Songs about feelings. Social stories. And puppets for modeling emotional skills.
Anna Hartman
01:34:05
—Having the right amount of control in our life helps us feel balanced.
Anna Hartman
01:34:28
—Play (esp pretend play) allows children to feel sense of control in a way that is empowering.
Anna Hartman
01:35:08
—Goal of preschool years is autonomy and initiative—opening the yogurt and pressing the elevator buttons and holding the door open are ways for children to take on these skills without taking on too much stress.
Anna Hartman
01:35:50
—Like riding a bike—on a flat trail, a child who is highly stressed might be challenging enough. Need to keep asking, is this the right incline for this child at this time?
Anna Hartman
01:36:39
—Playful opportunities for challenges? Popping bubbles. First with fingers, then feet, then karate chops. If a child has moderate trouble doing this, you want to provide some assistance. Can give them a sense that they are really engaged in the attempt.
Anna Hartman
01:37:43
—To promote growth mindset (the “power of yet” idea): Want to model how handling mistakes by ourselves. Talking about skills we have yet to matter. Books like Beautiful Oops, Ish. “I can’t do it yet” Will help expand window of tolerance.
Anna Hartman
01:38:39
—Playful interactions can promote emotional sense of safety and stringer relationships. This will lead to children feeling understood. Eye contact and touch are key to this, creating sense of connection.
Anna Hartman
01:41:01
—Because uncertain about our exact guidelines, how can we exaggerate our presence if we can’t use touch as often. Touch is crucial for children’s development.
Anna Hartman
01:41:27
—Another activity: Building a hand tower.
Anna Hartman
01:41:37
(A way to co-regulate)
Anna Hartman
01:42:44
—How to use play to strengthen relationships? Ways to help children feel connected. To feel accepted and important. Eye contact, touch, presence.
Anna Hartman
01:43:35
—All of this can only be achieved if you take car of yourself.
Anna Hartman
01:45:13
—Think about: What is it you need to get to physical, emotional, social, and spiritual self-care? Also a great model to children of how to do this.
Anna Hartman
01:45:22
—We all do the best that we can.
Anna Hartman
01:46:07
—Keep children safe; be a warm and consistent presence. This is already doing so much for them.
Anna Hartman
01:46:24
—Wow! Thank you, Orly and Amanda!!
Sandy Lanes
01:46:46
Beautiful presentations!!
Anna Hartman
01:50:17
—I lean toward pretending that at least as far as school is concerned, that it didn’t happen. That is, don’t want teachers to feel that our normal learning standards are in place. But need to balance by talking about all of the kinds of learning the children undertook at home. The last thing we want is to invalidate all of the learning the children have actually done. First step: Find our what the children HAVE been learning and doing! Ask the children to tell you about it! And talk to parents as well.
Alyse Eisenberg
01:50:22
I love that!
Alyse Eisenberg
01:51:14
It truly support that learning happens everywhere and is lifelong.
Anna Hartman
01:51:17
—Needs to be understanding that elearning is not the same. Let’s go ahead and give that and will compensate for that. But can use as way to connect wit the children.
Anna Hartman
01:52:50
—How do we as leaders buffer the teachers’ trauma? Promote a sense of connection. Be a safe place for processing feelings. Be a warm loving person. Extremely helpful buffering.
Anna Hartman
01:54:06
—Today rabbah (thank you very much) to the outstanding presenters!
Anna Hartman
01:54:14
—Recording and notes at jparadigm.org
Lisa P
01:54:14
Thank you!