Free professional development to prepare the ECEC sector for responding to natural disasters


Infant and Child Mental Health Nonprofit Emerging spirits associated with Beyond the Blue’s Be You initiative develop three courses for early childhood educators, primary and secondary teachers, aimed at providing a practical framework and guidance for supporting children immediately after, in the short 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, droughts and cyclones, while traumatic events refer to the impact of pandemics, terrorism, critical incidents (injuries, deaths and suicide) and violence.

The four phases of the practical framework described in the resources are:

  • Well-being of educators – ensuring that educators and teachers can look after their own mental health, so that they have the strength and capacity to support children.

  • Daily approaches – focus on routines, develop emotional literacy so that children can describe what they are feeling and experience, and facilitate play to help children express their emotions.

  • Progress Tracking – tools and worksheets that help educators and teachers monitor a child’s behavior and determine if external professional support is needed.

  • Activate support – providing parents with information on how to monitor problems at home, providing tools and materials to help children outside of school hours, and knowing when and how to request specialist support.

Louise Taheny, director of the Yorketown Community Children’s Center, was consulted during the development of the resources, which she said will become “an invaluable resource” for people in the area, especially in areas prone to bushfires.

Yorketown Community Children’s Center is just a few miles from the 5,000 hectares of farmland destroyed near the Township of South Australia in a bushfire in November 2019. The blaze damaged 11 properties and necessitated the treatment of over 30 people for fire-related injuries.

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

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

The three courses will last approximately two and a half hours each and will include written content, video interviews with educators and other professionals, as well as reflective activities.

The courses are accessible free of charge with online registration on the Emerging Minds website or via the links below:

For more information please see here.