06 August, 2021 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

Transitions as Triggers in Early Childhood

Portobello Institute Early Years Event

Approaching transitions with care as an early childhood practitioner is usually second nature.  

Becoming trauma-sensitive and aware of children’s trigger is the focus of our upcoming webinar with Dr Judith Butler. 

Portobello Institute lecturer, Rachel Dunne, will host the webinar. Her background includes a master’s in Developmental and Therapeutic Play. 

Rachel has been a tutor at Portobello for over three years teaching modules including Challenging Inequalities, Pedagogy and Curriculum and Children’s Rights. She continues to share her experience and expertise with our students.  

In her studies and experience with trauma-sensitivity and children who have experienced adversity, Rachel says webinars like this are so important for sharing knowledge around what trauma can mean to children and how common it is. 

“I think across the board when people think of trauma they automatically think of a neglectful or abusive situation which is absolutely correct, but it really goes further than that.  

“A child that has experienced any kind of loss, a parental separation, loss of a sibling, children in care, it’s so common and that’s why I think this is so important. You are going to get children going through something like that in every room of every setting and typically more than one. 

“We may already have a lot of the skills needed to be trauma-sensitive but it’s about the attention to detail for example the listening culture in the classroom, we promote that but it goes beyond that, I don’t want it to be tokenistic, so actually listening to the children without interruption, acknowledgment of their feelings, using statements like ‘I can see you are very angry right now’ or ‘I can see you are upset’ and really acknowledging what they are saying and then acting on it effectively.  

“Approaching transitions with care and really putting the time in there, any little transition whether it be tidying up for lunchtime or going outside, it can be really stressful for any given child but especially someone who has experienced an adverse circumstance. 

“All children need security and that level of safety but for these children in particular a change could trigger this this fight or flight situation when there is a transition, you need to reassure them they are safe and not in danger because that’s normally the go-to.  

“It helps them to develop that attachment not just with us but with their peers. I’ve seen it so many times, children who are unable to form those basic attachments because they don’t have that level of safety or security at home, some children don’t really know whether they are coming or going that goes back to that level of separation and loss. 

“The biggest thing for me and what I have taken from my masters in particular is how important play really is for the likes of emotional expression, it really opens your eyes to what is going on in their world, it’s so different to ours. 

“This idea of scaffolding the child to master something and move on to something else that sense of independence, self-esteem and self-confidence if we can get that from an early age and continue to build on it, they are going to be so much more secure in the future,” she said.  

Rachel will host and conduct the Q&A session at our upcoming webinar. 

REGISTER here for our free webinar featuring Dr Judith Butler speaking about 'Trauma-Sensitive and Relationshio-Based Approaches in Early Childhood. 

READ MORE: Transitions - Making the First Days of Preschool a Success.

Portobello Institute is the leading provider in early years education in Ireland with 40 years of experience. 

Click here to book a consultation to speak to our Early Years & Montessori advisor, Jennifer Matteazzi, about progressing your early childhood studies. Call her directly on 01 892 0031 or email jennifer.matteazzi@portobelloinstitute.com.


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