Training and Capacity Building for Education Professionals
The first step to enabling trauma integrative practice is ensuring there is a shared foundational knowledge level amongst any staff team. This knowledge focuses on neurobiology, trauma, relational development and the strategies and principles of responding that stem from this understanding. ACF have worked for over two decades to translate the theory of neurobiology and trauma into practice-focused reparative frameworks, activities and strategies. We are well aware that theory is only valuable when it is practically applied in meaningful ways across the communities with whom we work.
This is reflected in the knowledge to action framework that ACF integrates into all of its work, including work across schools and other learning environments.
Training programs are offered at different levels of knowledge from foundational to advanced. The advanced sessions focus on application of knowledge frameworks as well as ways to support whole sites to integrate their trauma responsive approaches and ensure that they sit within or alongside the multiple other initiatives and requirements of schools and other learning environments in terms of student and staff wellbeing.
The provision of consultation and reflective practice programs adds to the capacity building offerings within ACF’s suite of services. These bespoke services focus on ensuring that the knowledge and skills gained through training are continually applied, reviewed and strengthened as we are very aware that it can be easy for the learning in training sessions to become lost in the maelstrom of the everyday within schools. Our team work with each school to enact the most practical and valuable process of trauma focused reflective practice.
We also acknowledge that capacity building stems from ongoing opportunities for learning and that is one of the purposes of the series of discussion papers we have developed for schools and education communities. These papers provide a short and focused discussion of a specific issue to do with trauma integrative practice as well as providing possible questions for further exploration within teaching teams, whole staff groups or professional networks. These smaller learning opportunities provide a chance to keep trauma integrative practice on the agenda within the context of an already crowded curriculum and activity schedule.
The other aspect of capacity building for schools and other education environments is a focus on staff wellbeing. We are very clear that working with traumatized children and young people, and their families, is challenging work and that a relational focus to practice can take a toll on professionals. Integrating an understanding of vicarious trauma and the neurobiology of self-care is critical to ensuring both staff wellbeing and reparative outcomes for students. ACF work with staff by providing training and other resources to support staff wellbeing throughout a range of settings.