Early Childhood Professionals’ Perspectives on Dealing with Trauma of Children
Childhood trauma is a significant concern in Australia and internationally. Professionals working in the early childhood education sector (i.e., providing early childhood education and care to infants, toddlers, and children from birth to age eight) are positioned to provide valuable support for children affected by trauma. However, there is less research on early childhood professionals’ perspectives and experiences of supporting trauma-exposed children compared to other education professionals (e.g., primary and secondary school teachers). This study explored early childhood professionals’ perspectives and experiences in relation to supporting children exposed to trauma. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 early childhood professionals in Victoria, Australia, and data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings illustrate that while educators develop valuable skills and experience growth from supporting trauma-exposed children and their families, they also experience emotional distress and challenges. Educators noted that there are limited professional development opportunities to learn about childhood trauma, and limited access to qualified and knowledgeable staff who can help them when supporting these learners. Implications from this study emphasise the importance of designing and delivering trauma-based professional learning opportunities and policies for early childhood educators.