Trauma-informed schools recognize that trauma and chronic stress affect all members of a community and the importance of support for all students. In implementing trauma-informed practices that serve all students, schools can create environments that help to increase student’s resiliency and abilities to thrive and learn. School-wide trauma-informed practices help increase students overall experience of wellbeing and connection to systems of support for students with higher levels of need.
SBHC Practices for School-Wide Student Interventions
Starting every school day with “Mindful Moments” over the loudspeaker to help students and staff ground themselves and increase self-regulation.
Hosting “Wellness Wednesdays” at lunch, where staff set up tables with music, games, healthy snacks, and stress management activities such as making stress balls, deep breathing exercises, etc.
Holding classes for youth on yoga and mindfulness.
Training educators on how to create classroom space for nervous system regulation that can go by any name, i.e. “Calm Corners” or “Peace Corners.” This is a cool-down space within the school or classroom for students to go when they feel activated. These spaces promote self-awareness and self-regulation with items such as sensory toys (stress balls, squishy toys for helping students focus); mindfulness activities (helps with emotional regulation and calming); art supplies (helps with emotional regulation, calming and re-focusing); and the opportunity for students to check-in with their own bodies and feelings apart from peers and school staff.
An example of schoolwide mindfulness interventions
Mindful Youth Leadership Transforming School Culture at El Cerrito High School
|A teacher said that after they implemented the calm corner in the classroom, the amount of students that would walk out of the classroom decreased by half as did teacher referrals for out of the classroom intervention. By shifting the focus on how to support the students’ regulation rather than punishing them, students were more likely to be able to stay in the classrooms.|
|Hosting weekly wellness events created avenues for SBHC staff to connect with students and school staff in meaningful ways and be seen as a resource for the school community. SBHC staff said this increase in visibility helped to increase referrals for students to the SBHC and requests for SBHC staff to participate in meaningful school activities such as school-wide training on the impacts of trauma and self-care.|
|Implementing peer health education classes during the school day with various social, emotional, wellness, mental health, and social justice topics created spaces where many of the students were able to bring up their current needs, and identify their own traumas as well as their resiliency.|
Cool Down Corners in the Classroom: PowerPoint for Teachers
Dynamic Mindfulness – Niroga Institute
Emotions Worksheet for Calm Corners
Trauma-Informed School Spotlight: California School-Based Health Alliance Case Study
Core Guiding Principles for a Trauma-Informed School – UCSF HEARTS