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Trauma-Informed PE: A Beginner's Guide for Teachers

Welcome to Trauma-Informed Physical Education! This guide is designed to make understanding and implementing trauma-informed practices in PE straightforward and accessible for teachers.

What is Trauma-Informed PE?

Trauma-informed PE is establishing a psychologically safe and supportive environment within Physical Education classes, specifically tailored to students who have experienced trauma. 

This approach centres on acknowledging the profound impact trauma can have on students' behaviour, learning, attendance, and overall wellbeing, prompting us to adapt our methods accordingly. 

It emphasises prioritising relationships, fostering empathy towards students, integrating movement to facilitate emotional regulation, and incorporating play infused with care to support students in their journey of recovery. 

It is about managing behaviours that we find challenging without retraumatising our young people, but maintaining the high standards we want and need for our young people.

By embracing these principles, we can create a nurturing space where students feel understood, valued, and empowered to thrive despite their past experiences.

Why is it Important?

Many students have experienced difficult or traumatic events in their lives, which can affect how they engage in PE and their overall well-being. The data shows that at least 1 in 2 of your young people have suffered at least 1 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). 

As the number of ACEs increases, so does the likelihood of students facing learning difficulties, low attainment, absenteeism, and behavioural issues in the short term. 

ACEs can set individuals on a detrimental path, impacting their health and well-being throughout their lives. Understanding the mechanisms through which childhood trauma influences long-term outcomes is crucial for us. 

Mechanisms by which adverse childhood experiences influence health & wellbeing throughout the lifespan.

Source: Brown, D.W. et al (2009) in their Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Risk of Premature Mortality study

Without intervention, the trajectory from childhood trauma to early mortality is a stark reality.  By being trauma-informed, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment where all students feel valued and can succeed now and long after they have left your care.

A Solution: Trauma-Informed PE

Physical Education (PE) presents a unique opportunity to address the impact of trauma and promote students' physical and emotional wellbeing. 

However, integrating trauma-informed practices into PE classes can be challenging without proper training and resources. 

Recognising this need, we've developed the Trauma-Informed PE online teacher training course, based on our own experiences of implementing in an inner-city school, to equip educators with the knowledge and tools to support students effectively.

The 7-Step Recover Roadmap

Our course follows a comprehensive 7-step roadmap designed to transform relationships, engagement, behaviour, attendance, and academic progress within 90 days, and their life chances in the long term

Here's a brief overview:

Stage 1 - Approach: 

Understand the evidence behind post-lockdown challenges and the role of trauma in students' lives.

  • Step 1 - Relationships: Explore the impact of trauma on students' behaviour and life chances.

  • Step 2: Emotionally Available Adults: Learn about the importance of emotionally available adults and the 8 protective factors in supporting childrens' recovery.

Stage 2 - Implementation: 

Learn strategies to help you implement trauma-informed practices in PE.

  • Step 3 - Visuals and Vocals: Learn how to create psychological safety through your visuals and vocals to enhance engagement.

  • Step 4 - Opportunity to R.I.S.E: Learn how you can use physical activity to broaden students' window of tolerance and foster a sense of belonging.  Develop the role of play wrapped in care to develop your children’s mental wellbeing

  • Step 5 - Connect Before Correct: Learn how we can manage behaviours that we find challenging without retraumatising our young people, but maintaining the high standards we want and need for our young people.

Stage 3 - Impact: 

Extend the impact of trauma-informed practices beyond the classroom.

  • Step 6 - Enhance: Explore strategies for a whole-school approach to trauma-informed education.

  • Step 7 - Recovery: Understand key points for supporting students suffering from trauma and become a transformational PE teacher in today's educational landscape.

By embracing trauma-informed practices in PE, educators can make a profound difference in students' lives, fostering resilience and promoting their long-term well-being.

Join us on this journey to create a supportive and empowering environment for all of our young people.

Taking The First Step

We have created the ‘Enhancing Engagement Scorecard’ to help you track your progress in implementing Trauma Informed PE practice within 2 minutes. 

This scorecard acts as a valuable tool for self-reflection and continuous improvement.  Click on the link to take the first step and get your score.

Taster Course For You

Once completed we will send you a login to our ‘Taster Trauma Informed PE Course’ so you can develop your understanding of what a trauma-informed approach is, what Adverse Childhood Experiences are, and how this affects children in the classroom at the moment and their life chances, based on the ACEs studies.

Take the first step today to creating a better future for you and your young people here.

Join Our Waiting List

We offer a range of services from courses, keynote speaking, consultancy and our upcoming book 'Time to RISE Up'. 

You can join our waiting list here and we will reach out to you:

Have a brilliant week.

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