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From Hurting to Healing: Creating Trauma-Sensitive and Healing-Centered Early Childhood Programs

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Course Length

12 hours

Delivery Method

Asynchronous eLearning


On-Demand eLearning

Course Summary

Creating trauma-sensitive and healing-centered environments requires leaders to be trauma-informed and well-supported. This six-module course provides center administrators and leaders with the concrete knowledge to recognize trauma and respond to it in sensitive and culturally responsive ways. Each module explains how trauma affects staff, children, and families and how to reduce trauma’s negative impact through healing-centered practices.

Module 1: Developing the Trauma Sensitive Leader
Take responsibility and maintain boundaries of your role in the continuum of trauma-informed care. In this training, participants learn to demonstrate an understanding of the definition of trauma and its prevalence in early childhood programs, recognize that caregivers may have experienced their own trauma, and learn about the concept of trauma-sensitive leadership and how understanding the types of trauma staff, children, and families in your program can be supported.

Module 2: The Impact of Trauma on Behavior
Facilitate parents’ and staff’s use of trauma-informed perspectives on individual children’s development. Build understanding of young children’s body-based trauma memories for parents and staff. Mentor staff to reflect on the meaning of children’s behavior using a trauma-informed lens and implement trauma-informed, co-regulation strategies. Discuss concerns with families about evidence of trauma in children’s play and make appropriate referrals for child and family support, including collaborations with other service providers when indicated to assure children’s safety in a non-stigmatizing way.

Module 3: Culturally Responsive and Trauma-Sensitive Care
Gain a better understanding of the impact experienced by historically marginalized children, families, and teachers. Receive and practice tips and tools to respond to microaggressions and biases contributing to racial trauma. Create supportive environments and practices that are culturally responsive in your program.

Module 4: Creating Trauma-Sensitive Policies and Environments
Develop and implement healing-centered policies and practices using trauma-informed strategies to benefit children and staff. Distinguish what makes a trauma traumatic and design environments that reduce the impact of trauma on children’s development and support staff who may have experienced their trauma. Reframe environments to provide children and adults with feelings of privilege, power, and predictability that create a sense of safety from harm.

Module 5: Buffering the Impact of Secondary Trauma
Explore strategies for processing your personal responses to stress. Recognize secondary trauma or stress symptoms, signs of professional burnout, and compassion fatigue. Develop healthy coping skills by using tools and strategies for self-care and self-compassion. Incorporate compassionate care into your program’s practices. Apply these techniques to buffer the impact of secondary trauma experienced by children, staff, and families in your program.

Module 6: Applying Trauma Sensitive Care Across Systems: A Collaborative Approach
Develop and sustain collaborative relationships across systems that support children and families impacted by trauma. Collaborate and communicate across systems to develop strategies that support children and families who have experienced trauma. Develop lists of community resources available to families who have experienced trauma. Create awareness of and advocate for trauma-informed and sensitive practices in the community that recognize and respond to the impact of traumatic stress on children, families, and early education workers.

CEU Credits


CDA Competency Area
  • Content Area II: Steps to advance children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Content Area III: Positive ways to support children’s social and emotional development
  • Content Area IV: Strategies to establish productive relationships with families
  • Content Area VIII: Principles of Child Development and Learning
MN KCF Content Area
  • II.A: Creating Positive Learning Experiences
  • II.B: Promoting Cognitive Development
  • II.C: Promoting Social and Emotional Development
  • III: Relationships with Families
  • III.D: Cultural Responsibility and Practice
  • IX: Trauma Informed Care

3 (Advanced)

State Approval
  • MN