How To Share News of School Closures and COVID-19 with Children: A Trauma-Informed Practice

On Friday, May 1st, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that schools across New York would remain closed for the school year. While this news was immediately shared with staff and caregivers, my co-teacher, Madeleine, and I hesitated before telling our kindergartners.

This hesitation grew from our grieving process, from our uncertainty about best remote practices, and from our instinct to shield children from pain.

Yet, days later, we knew it was time to face the inevitable — with hopes that our words might offer children and caregivers space to process news and feelings.

Before doing so, we grounded ourselves in guiding principles of trauma-informed practice. COVID-19 is a global trauma, and while children and caregivers are responding and reacting to their own experiences, a trauma-informed approach is supportive to all.

Click image to view resources from Alex Shevrin Venet.

With these core principles in mind, school closures and other COVID-19-related news can be planned using the following structure and components:

With efforts to keep pre-recorded videos under five minutes, know that our video is not perfect. When recording, we limit ourselves to three takes.

Click here to open a PDF of the free book referenced: “Coronavirus, A Book for Children.”

A trauma-informed practice supports educators, caregivers, and children — in messages sent, in plans shared, and in daily required/invitational practices — across all content areas. Its core principles can be acquired in times of remote instruction and continued when schools re-open.