Trauma Informed Schools and Teachers Change Lives

Classroom Resources & Curriculum

What is Trauma?

Often, trauma is defined as a deeply disturbing event or experience, but what one person may consider "deeply disturbing" may be different for others. The common understanding of trauma fails to account for more subtle and insidious forms of trauma such as neglect, abandonment, and vicarious trauma.

Trauma is an event, or series of events, that overwhelms the central nervous system. Trauma occurs when one’s ability to defend, protect, or say no is overwhelmed. Trauma is what occurs when your solution (active response to threat) does not work.

Trauma is actually a normal response to an abnormal situation – the dissociative experience of trauma is a way of coping with overwhelming stress when no other solution is present. Conversely, the more agency or choice that someone has in an overwhelming situation, the less likely they are to develop PTSD.

Since children already have very limited capacity for a solution, it is a critical best practice for educators and other adults working with traumatized youth to provide ample opportunity for choice – particularly in moments of escalation and high stress. Since stress and threat-response are a function of our central nervous system, a complete understanding of trauma requires a primer on the nervous system and the fight-or-flight response.

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Why Does Trauma-Informed Teaching Matter?

When you hear the word trauma or traumatic-stress disorder what is the first thing you think of? For most, the immediate association is of soldiers and veterans. What you may not immediately think of, however, is children in our public school system.

The majority of people suffering from chronic-stress and traumatic-stress disorders are actually children. We need only look as far as the prolific ACE’s study to see evidence of the far-reaching impact of childhood trauma. Luckily, there are many trauma-informed teaching practices that educators can use to curb the impact of childhood trauma.

Free Trauma Informed Resources

Free Activity for Self Regulation

Teach emotional management with trauma-informed classroom activities for K - 5 elementary students.

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Trauma Informed Activation Plan

When providing support for upset students, teachers must learn to de-escalate the conflict. Use this plan to calm activated students. 

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Mindful Moment Recordings

We've recorded 40 Mindful Moment activities for K-8 Students. All of the recordings are for children, by children. 

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Remote and Hybrid Learning Options


Empowering Minds works both in-person and online! School licenses include additional training and support for using our program online.

Mindfulness & Trauma

Trauma prevents students from being able to engage fully in the present moment. Mindfulness teaches students how to pay attention to the present moment. Our comprehensive, mindfulness-based social & emotional learning curriculum equips you and your students with all of the tools you need to reduce the impact of trauma and improve student outcomes. Enhance your trauma-informed teaching practices by using our step-by-step sample lessons in your classroom today.

Trauma Informed Schools: Resources for Teachers

The impact of childhood trauma and chronic stress is one of the most pressing issues facing educators and society at large. Discover resources and a turnkey curriculum for teachers seeking to become trauma informed and recognize and address the unique needs to these learners. 

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Over 90 Lessons and Additional Resources Included

Coping Skills

Conflict Resolution

Decision-Making

I-Statements

Diversity

Growth Mindset

Bullying

Listening

Trauma-Informed Teaching Articles