As the country makes its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing emphasis is being placed upon the considerable impact that trauma and life-impacting events can have on children.
“Children enduring personal or family hardship, understandably, can have a difficult time focusing on schoolwork and their studies,” Director of Counseling Services Dr. Karen Allen stated. “Our foremost concern is always our students’ mental and emotional health, and we know that many of our kids have been through a lot recently, so we want to make sure our staff is empathetic and well-trained.”
In September 2020, all Ewing Schools staff participated in several “Trauma Informed” professional learning webinars presented by Prevent Child Abuse.org. This opportunity provided staff a “phase one” awareness and understanding of how trauma, such as the pandemic, impacts the brain, body and our behavior.
The district’s efforts will be further supported as the Ewing Schools were fortunate to be a recipient of a grant through Prevent Child Abuse.org. The grant is valued at approximately $2,000 and the funds come from a local supportive Mercer County business – Dermody Properties.
The grant facilitates a “Phase 2” to the district’s training by providing each elementary school with: Nature Wellness Walks for a hallway in each building, Mini “Calm-Down Kits” (includes mindfulness chimes, sphere breathing balls), a Mindfulness Kit to support direct student instruction and access for one staff member to a Yoga Ed subscription. Additionally, a total of three, live (virtual) professional development workshops will be provided to the districts’ elementary schools.
“We are grateful to be a recipient of this grant to support our students and staff,” Dr. Allen added. “As we hopefully have a return to normalcy in the near future, we know that there will be long-lasting impacts of the crisis, and we want to ensure our staff is trained and ready to meet the needs of the school community.”