We know that early adversity or trauma affects the developing brain, so we must recognize that early stresses are a threat to children's social, mental, and physical well-being and learn how to mitigate these negative effects.
After a year of isolation, distanced learning and quarantines, students may be facing a plethora of challenges and mental health issues, including but not limited to:
- fight or flight responses;
- shut down of executive functioning due to stress;
- planning and problem solving difficulties;
- and emotional regulation and behavioural challenges.
Many, if not all of these challenges will have stemmed from anxiety and stress, caused by recent events and ongoing changes within the classroom.
HOW DOES THE STRESS RESPONSE WORK?
When the stress response in the brain is activated, stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. The stress response naturally turns off in a safe and nurturing environment, and the resulting resiliency is built up over time.
On the other hand, when the stress response is activated too frequently, without the buffering elements of a stable and safe environment, it can become dysregulated and maladaptive. In this case, we see long-term changes in the brain structure, immune and hormonal systems.
Antidote to toxic stress
Due to the obvious uncertainties surrounding COVID, many young students may have experienced trauma and stress as a result of last year's masking, quarantines, and virtual classrooms. Teachers can provide daily doses of nurturing and healing interactions in the classroom as an antidote to this toxic stress. The BrainAhead program can assist students in regaining control, developing positive resiliency, and becoming ready to learn.
Learn how one district approaches classroom re-acclimation and academic readiness in the video and case study below. Read the full case study here.
WHAT STRATEGIES OR PROGRAMS DO YOU USE TO FOSTER POSITIVE RESILIENCY AND IMPROVE STUDENTS' READINESS TO LEARN?
Share your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you!