Jake’s first day at kindergarten saw him stomp in with his fists clenched tight by his sides.
When his teacher wished him a bright “good morning” the lad ducked away as if he was about to be hit and responded in language you’d be shocked to hear – let alone from the mouth of a 4-year-old.
Jake looked around warily, keeping his back to the wall wherever possible and responding aggressively to the simplest of requests.
When the Alannah & Madeline Foundation Early Years Consultants were called in by Jake’s teacher to advise on how best to work with Jake, they could see that Jake wasn’t a bad kid. He was a badly treated kid.
This little boy was angry and aggressive not because he was naughty, but because he had probably never known kindness or affection.
If anyone touched him – even accidentally – he’d just explode.
That’s what can happen to a child whose life has been filled with abuse, trauma and a constant fear of violence. And this child was very, very frightened.
For some children, just one positive experience in their early life — like a year with an educator who understands their behaviour and values them — can change their entire life experience.
That’s why the Alannah & Madeline Foundation works with early childhood teachers and educators in kindergartens and long day care services to help equip them with the knowledge to identify key behaviours and respond in a way that is positive for the child and also for the classroom.
It’s about helping teachers understand that certain behaviours indicate trauma, not mischief or intentional disobedience, and also learn what they can do about it.
Not only does it directly help individual children, the early years teachers and educators get knowledge and skills they can continue to apply in their classrooms for the rest of their working lives.
The Foundation needs to raise $219,027 by 31 December to help fund this service.
Your special Christmas gift will give children and the early childhood teachers and educators who work with (and worry about) these children the chance to create a different future for these most vulnerable children.
Will you donate this Christmas to help make 2021 the beginning of a better life for the most vulnerable of our littlest children?
NB: For privacy reasons we have changed the name and details of the child referred to in this story. But all these situations did and continue to happen. Please donate today if you can help traumatised children recover.
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