Source: Irish Examiner | Repost Fight for Life Foundation 5/23/2022 –
I sometimes imagine my classroom as something else — as a neighbourhood square or a small green in the centre of a quadrangle. The classroom walls are terraced houses — each house has a different coloured door.
The image jolts me into remembering my students have their own individual stories and histories. It’s obvious, but sometimes the most obvious is the easiest to forget. So, I visualise different houses, different coloured doors, the relationships going on behind them. Because I know how much relationships matter.
A ground-breaking study in 1995 on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), confirms the potential severity of their impact on children and the adults they become. ACEs range from emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, to neglect, divorce or alcoholism in the home. Toxic stress from childhood trauma can alter brain development and affect how the body responds to stress. ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood.
Children need adults, especially teachers, to be aware of ACEs because awareness can translate into supportive relationships, buffering the impact of childhood adversity.