Free professional development to prepare ECEC sector for natural disaster response
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Free professional development to prepare ECEC sector for natural disaster response

Free professional development to prepare ECEC sector for natural disaster response

by Freya Lucas

November 16, 2021

Not-for-profit infant and child mental health organisation Emerging Minds has partnered with Beyond Blue’s Be You initiative to develop three courses for early learning educators, primary and secondary school teachers, aiming to provide a practical framework and advice to support children in the immediate aftermath, short-term and long-term following traumatic events such as pandemics and natural disasters.


The resources will help education professionals prepare for disasters such as bushfires, storms, floods, drought and cyclones, while traumatic events refers to the impact of pandemics, terrorism, critical incidents (injury, death and suicide) and violence.


The four phases of the practical framework outlined within the resources are:


  • Educator wellbeing – ensuring educators and schoolteachers can address their own mental health, so that they have the strength and capacity to support children.

  • Daily approaches – focussing on routines, building emotional literacy so children can describe what they are feeling and experiencing, and facilitating play to help children express their emotions.

  • Monitoring progress – tools and worksheets that help educators and schoolteachers monitor a child’s behaviour and identify whether external, professional support is required.

  • Activating support – providing parents with information on how to monitor for issues at home, providing tools and materials to help children outside of school hours, and knowing when and how to refer for specialist support.


Louise Taheny, Director of Yorketown Community Children’s Centre, was consulted during the development of the resources, which she believes will become “an invaluable resource” for those in the sector, particularly in bushfire prone areas. 


Yorketown Community Children’s Centre is just kilometres from the 5,000 hectares of farmland destroyed near the South Australian township during a bushfire in November 2019. The fire damaged 11 properties and required more than 30 people to be treated for fire-related injuries.


“It is imperative that we have an understanding of how to support and work with children who have been impacted by trauma,” Ms Taheny said.


“The course is an invaluable opportunity for educators to learn from their peers who have lived experience of trauma, about what works and how to achieve the best possible outcomes for children.”


The three courses will take approximately two-and-a-half hours each to complete, and include written content, video interviews with educators and other professionals, and reflective activities.


Courses can be freely accessed with an online registration on the Emerging Minds website


For more information please see here

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