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Volume 3 Number 11

A new museum dedicated to exploring the role of visual art in children's literature from around the world will open in Amherst, Massachusetts in November 2002...
SMORK's Awesome Internet Sites for Kids from: Deanna Phillips
The World’s Largest Lesson - 12 November 2002! from: Charis Kumpula
Cornell News - Removing stains from: Susan S. Lang
Parent resource for the DOE from: Dean Kephart
Nestlé Very Best In Youth - All About RIF - Reading is Fundamental from: Reading is Fundamental
2003 Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program - Three Week Study Visit to Japan from: Jaime McQueen
U.S. History 101: Preserve and Protect from: Hallie Reed
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Ptsd): A Guide for Educators from: Gina Hoagland
Volunteer at a Library in Africa or Central America from: The World Library Partnership
November Columns
November Articles
November Regular Features
Gazette Home Delivery:

In Focus...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Ptsd): A Guide for Educators

From: Gina Hoagland
Association For Childhood Education Internat.

Suggestions for classroom activities that educators can use to help children overcome the effects of posttraumatic stress syndrome.

Educators in the Washington, D.C., area have been relied upon to comfort children who are in "lockdown" mode and frightened by threats and violence perpetrated by a serial killer. To help both students and teachers cope with the stress and trauma of an increasingly violent and unjust world, the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) would like to make the following information available about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In the article "Traumatic Events and Children: How Early Childhood Educators Can Help," published in the Fall 2002 issue of Childhood Education magazine, Indiana University School of Education graduate student Kazim Alat reports that PTSD occurs in 29 to 95 percent of children affected by traumatic events. Those who experience traumatic events before age 11 are more likely to display psychological symptoms associated with PTSD than those who experience traumatic events at a later age (National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 2001).

The teacher is an important part of a child’s support system, and often the first adult to note symptoms of posttraumatic stress; therefore his or her responsibility does not end with notification to a professional counselor. Alat says that depending on the type of trauma and the age of the children, appropriate classroom activities can be planned to help children overcome the negative effects of posttraumatic stress. Educators may:

  • Use toys and other materials to provide opportunities to reenact events from a traumatic event.
  • Include gentle physical contact and activities that release tension and give a sense of security.
  • Encourage anxious children to learn from each other by sharing their feelings in a group discussion.
  • Stimulate children to draw, write, or talk about their fears, longings and feelings.
  • Integrate books that help children to:
    1. learn how others confronted and solved similar problems;
    2. see how others have faced anxieties; and
    3. gain insight into alternative solutions to problems.
  • Develop group activities that give children a sense of mastery and a chance to make sense of confusing events.
  • Apply math, science, and language skills to explore causes and consequences of natural disasters.
  • Assign projects that build a sense of mastery and help children to make sense of confusing events.
  • Collaborate with parents to monitor a child’s progress, both at home and school.
  • Practice an evacuation plan that can save lives and minimize the effects of trauma.
  • Provide a classroom environment that bespeaks safety and security.
  • Practice extra understanding and patience, but maintain typical expectations for students’ behavior and performance.
  • Implement structured, stable, and predictable routines, consistent rules, and immediate feedback.

The primary purpose of the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) is to promote the inherent rights, education, and well-being of children in homes, schools, and communities. The organization publishes the award-winning journal Childhood Education as well as the Journal of Research in Childhood Education. For more information, visit our Web site at

For Additional Information, Please Contact:
Gina Hoagland
Association For Childhood Education Internat.