Introduction to Trauma-Informed
Early Childhood Education
T eachers everywhere have struggled as they work with children and
try to understand children’s behaviors, particularly in the past sev-
eral years. Children have not changed. Childhood has, and the children
in today’s classrooms merely reflect the challenging, sometimes scary
changes in their environments and world.
The Brain and Education
As neurologists learn more about childhood and brain development, a
growing body of research has established the importance of support-
ing children through the toughest kinds of childhoods. Many students
come from backgrounds and life experiences that don’t align with status
quo educational pedagogy. Educators must find new approaches to stu-
dents’ learning and developmental needs, even if these require significant
changes in traditional approaches to discipline and student learning. It
has become very apparent that adapting to these students’ needs will
require a major paradigm shift in education, from birth to high school.
Even what are understood to be developmentally appropriate practices
will need to be scrutinized. This educational shift must involve the infu-
sion of practices and policies that meet the emotional and learning needs
of children of all ages.
The original edition of Making It Better was published in 1996, when
neurological research had just begun to be reported. This growing body