Good Morning, Kindergartners. Today is going to be a great day! Let’s prepare our brains for learning by taking three deep breaths together.” If you were to visit Paul Bunyan Elementary School, this is what you would hear over the morning announcements. With guidance from Peacemaker Resources and funding from the United Way, the students and teachers at this kindergarten center have created a model Trauma-Sensitive School, which is receiving recognition from around the state.
Peacemaker Resources is committed to helping schools to create social and emotional learning (SEL) programs that build the skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. In addition to working with students, PR staff also train teachers on the effects of trauma on the brain. As a result of this project, the kindergarten center reports that behavioral referrals to the office have been cut in half. If you ask the teachers why this is happening, they will tell you that students are learning how to self-regulate and work with their emotions. “I can't express enough the positive impact the SEL instructor and lessons have brought to our school. Because of the impact of SEL instruction and our trauma sensitivity information and guidance, I believe we are making a difference in the lives of young children and possibly their families and dare I hope, also for our community,” shares Principal Kathy Van Wert. Peacemakers Resources and 240 kindergartners thank the United Way for helping to create a peaceful school environment!