By Mary McPhail Gray
NVW Board Chair
The school year has started again—and all those excited and nervous students and parents begin the challenges of new classes, teachers, and classmates. Next to families, schools are the most powerful and enduring influence on children and youth. Being a successful student opens opportunities and builds self-confidence that can be life long. Dealing with academic trauma and failure has challenges that bury deep into an individual’s personality.
At Nonviolence Works we know that not all students are anticipating an exciting and successful school year. They may have experienced a variety of stressors, and they bring those to the classroom, where learning is compromised. The Centers for Disease Control began a landmark study in the mid’90’s on how adverse childhood experiences create neurological blocks to learning. The research identified neglect, hunger, bullying, witnessing violence, experiencing abuse, and living in an unsafe neighborhood as some of the indicators of childhood trauma. And just one unsuccessful school year can create a pattern of fear and withdrawal from learning. [Read more…]