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ERIC Number: EJ997251
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1538-6619
Using Relationships to Heal Trauma: Reflective Practices Creates a Therapeutic Preschool
Brinamen, Charles; Page, Farris
Young Children, v67 n5 p40, 42-44, 46-48 Nov 2012
More than 20 percent of children (ages 2-17) in the United States have witnessed and/or been victims of multiple forms of violence. Children from birth through age 5 are more likely to experience maltreatment and neglect than other age groups. Violence and trauma (including neglect), whether in the home or the community, have lasting effects on children's school readiness and ability to form relationships, yet services are not widely available for preschoolers affected by these stressors. An early education program can offer respite and support, bolster children's emotional resources, and respond to trauma so that children are ready to learn. Located in a San Francisco neighborhood with one of the highest rates of children witnessing violent crime in the city, the Visitacion Valley Therapeutic Nursery, which the authors created with colleagues and community members, was designed to meet the needs of some of the city's most troubled children. However, the principles and techniques followed are integral to all high-quality inclusive early care and education programs. Like other relationship-based interventions, the focus on child-teacher relationships and children's emotional health supported children's growth in all domains. The therapeutic classroom was a 10-year collaboration between two agencies: (1) a community early education program; and (2) the Children's Council of San Francisco, a resource and referral agency that provides mental health consultations. Set in the midst of a large multisite early education program in a community-based family service center, the therapeutic classroom was staffed by early education and mental health professionals. After 10 years the therapeutic classroom closed due to public funding cuts. However, the classroom had met its mission, responding successfully to traumatized and overwhelmed children and preparing them for school. The authors believe that the lessons they learned over the years can help and inspire others.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101. Tel: 800-424-2460; Tel: 202-232-8777; Fax: 202-328-2649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California