Resources for Addressing Trauma and Building Resilience in School-Age Children and Out-of-School-Time Settings

This page provides technical assistance resources centered on school-age children and out-of-school-time settings.   

The coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency has greatly impacted our society – including changing how educators provide and children receive educational instruction and services. Early learning programs and schools have had to adapt how they provide instruction and services, with many moving to a virtual or hybrid format. These changes have influenced how educators and service provides interact with children and provide valuable engaging exchanges.

Agencies across the Federal government, including those at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education, have collected a series of resources to support school-age children and the program staff that support them during this challenging time.

Resources are categorized by audience including: parent, families, and caregivers; programs and schools; providers and teachers; states; and tribes. Additionally, resource topics cover social-emotional and behavioral support, building resilience and addressing trauma, and staff wellness in school-age and out-of-school-time settings.

While this collection of resources focused on school-age children, there is a broader collection of TA resources for early childhood learning and programs that can be found here.  

Resources for District/Program Leaders

The Leadership Team’s Guide for Re-opening Programs

This document is designed to guide the Program Leadership Team around considerations for supporting children, families, and staff as they return to the program. The guidance includes Pyramid Model practices you know and encourages you to think about those strategies from a trauma-informed perspective.

Resources Educators and Schools

Re-connecting and Building Relationships with Infants Visit disclaimer page

Use this tip sheet to help practitioners of infants and toddlers intentionally plan and think about how to reconnect, help children transition back to the classroom, and support children's social and emotional development after being away from the program. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Student Engagement in Online Classes: Tips for Teachers Based on Trauma-Informed Approaches and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Strategies Visit disclaimer page

This tip sheet offers four sets of concrete strategies, categorized as the 4C’s, for teachers to engage students in their online classes at the middle and high school levels.

Assessing Socioemotional Needs: Return-To-School Surveys for Teachers, School Counselors, Parents, and Students Visit disclaimer page

This toolkit provides sample surveys for planning to meet student and staff needs coming back to school following a disruption.

Rebuilding the Pyramid: Reconnecting after a Break Visit disclaimer page

Rebuilding the Pyramid: Reconnecting After a Break is a one-page tip sheet to help preschool practitioners intentionally plan and think about how to support children’s use of social and emotional skills that are important to re-teach or remind children after being away from a classroom. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Continuity of Learning: Resources for Trauma-Informed Practices (TIP) Visit disclaimer page

Trauma-Informed Practices (TIPs) are procedures or policies that integrate an understanding of biological, psychological, and social consequences of trauma and toxic stress to reduce their negative effects on students, staff, and the school system. This resource collection includes tools and resources that have been curated by National Center staff to support SEAs, LEAs, and school administrators during COVID-19.

Connecting with Families Visit disclaimer page

With children learning at home, our connections with families are so important. These tips will help you be focused and responsive during those calls or virtual meetings.

Helping Children Understand Emotions When Wearing Masks Visit disclaimer page

Here are tips and ideas for helping children identify emotions when your face, your most expressive feature, is covered by a mask. Use these strategies to let children know that behind the mask, a kind and warm expression is still there!

Transitioning Back to the Program: Connecting with Families Visit disclaimer page

As early childhood programs work on re-opening, they can use these online communication and phone scripts to help guide your conversations with families.

My Teachers Want to Know Visit disclaimer page

Programs can use this form to gather information from families as to the impact from the pandemic and best ways to support the child and family. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Greeting Choice Board for Social Distancing Visit disclaimer page

Use this visual choice board to help young children select and use a classroom greeting while maintaining social distancing.

Back to School During COVID-19: Resources and Practices for Promoting Social Emotional Learning in Young Children with Disabilities Visit disclaimer page

Put Your Own Mask on First: Being a Great Pyramid Model Implementor in the Time of COVID-19 Visit disclaimer page

This presentation will focus on specific steps that early care and education administrators and practitioners can and need to take right no to ensure a functional preschool setting during this pandemic. Specific examples from the Pyramid Model will be highlighted.

Providing Distance Family Support: What do I say? How can I help? A Conversation with NCPMI Faculty Visit disclaimer page

NCPMI faculty share ideas on checking in with families, how to respond to difficult questions, and resources that might be shared.

Getting Back to School after Disruptions: Resources for Making Your School Year Safer, More Predictable, and More Positive Visit disclaimer page

We recommend the following six strategies for school teams to ensure a safe, predictable, and positive school year. These strategies are beneficial for all students if the school has been closed, as well as for individual students returning from extended time away from school.

Informational Resources on Improving Social and Emotional Learning and Outcomes Visit disclaimer page

This resource document published by the Region 6 Comprehensive Center supports educational stakeholders with improving students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) and outcomes by providing resources for understanding, prioritizing, and measuring SEL competencies and providing resources on evidence-based SEL programs and interventions. The document organizes resources and information about SEL into nine categories listed under two broad headings: What is SEL? and How is SEL being implemented?

Resources OST Teachers/Frontline Staff

The Impact of Developmental Trauma in Communities of Color During the Pandemic Visit disclaimer page

This webinar resource from NCTSN features clinician and expert with over two decades of experience of working with boys and men of color.  This webinar focuses on culturally competent approaches culturally appropriate, evidence-based crisis response, mental health and supportive programs, partnerships, and policies for victims of violence and trauma to improve the lives of youth and adults.  It is a great training resource for staff working with children, youth, and families from at-risk populations that have been hard hit by COVID-19.

The Resilience of Youth: The Impact of Developmental Trauma, COVID-19 and Beyond Visit disclaimer page

This webinar from the NCTSN Introduces four young adults who will talk about their experiences and thoughts on resiliency. They will reflect on their goals, challenges, healthy coping styles, and hopes for the future. The participants reflections will give us an inside look at resilience and how it can impact developmental trauma. The conversation is moderated by experts from the field. In this live commentary, the experts will talk about the importance of having open conversations with young adults as well as how to listen to their own reflections and reactions while these conversations are taking place.  This could be a great training resource for OST staff, and can be used by frontline workers with students, particularly in consultation with a behavioral health expert.

Strengthening Your Resilience: Taking Care of Yourself as You Care for Others Visit disclaimer page

This NCTSN fact sheet offers professionals who work with youth ways to take care of themselves during the pandemic, and avoid secondary traumatic stress.

NCASE ACEs Resources Visit disclaimer page

This is a collection of resources and strategies from NCASE for addressing adverse experiences in out-of-school time.  Resources in this collection include a webinar, professional development module and questions of reflection and action that could be helpful for OST staff in their work to support children, youth, and families during COVID-19.

Age-Related Reactions to Traumatic Event Visit disclaimer page

This resource from NCTSN describes how young children, school-age children, and adolescents react to traumatic events and offers suggestions on how parents and caregivers can help and support them.  It is appropriate for frontline staff in out-of-school time settings, for supervisors, and for parents and caregivers.

Working Together in the Pandemic: Tips for Supporting Youth and Families in a Time of Crisis Visit disclaimer page

This resource from NCTSN describes strategies for working with justice-involved youth and families during a crisis.  It is appropriate for OST staff, supervisors, and program leaders who serve these populations of at-risk youth.

Resources for Parents and Families

Tips for Helping Your Child During the Pandemic Visit disclaimer page

Tips for helping your child during the pandemic provides families with suggestions and resources for helping their child cope with stress, changes, and staying at home. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Helping Your Child During the Pandemic Infographic Visit disclaimer page

Helping your child during the pandemic provides families with a few strategies to help their child cope during the pandemic. Programs and professionals are encouraged to post this resource on their web sites or share through social media. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Tucker Turtle Takes Time to Tuck and Think at Home Visit disclaimer page

Tucker the Turtle provides a scripted story to teach young children how to calm down when they have strong feelings by tucking into their shell and taking deep breaths. The story also includes visuals to help children learn how to use the strategy. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

I can be safe and healthy by washing my hands! Visit disclaimer page

Use this scripted story to teach a child about the why and how to wash hands. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Help Us Calm Down: Strategies for Children Visit disclaimer page

Try these strategies with your child! The more you use a calming strategy and practice the strategy with your child, the more likely they are to use the strategy when experiencing anger, stress, sadness, or frustration. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

We can be Problem Solvers at Home Visit disclaimer page

Scripted story to help children understand the steps to problem solving. Includes problem scenario cards to help children practice finding a solution to common social problems. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Taking a Break: Using a Calm Down Area at Home Visit disclaimer page

This resource includes instructions and tips for families on how to create a calm down area at home. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Video and Audio: Lessons for Supportive Adults on Youth Isolation Visit disclaimer page

The IWGYP has engaged young people to deepen our understanding of challenges they face and ways supportive adults can help, culminating in a video series. The video series features two young adults and one researcher to call attention to these challenges and identify specific steps supportive adults can take to help youth cope.

Coping with Stress Visit disclaimer page

This resource page by the CDC offers a variety of resources, including: various ways in which people react to stress, healthy ways to cope with stress, mental health resources, and ending home isolation.

Tips for Supporting Yourself during the Pandemic Visit disclaimer page

This tip sheet includes suggestions and resources to help you take care of yourself so you can support your child. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Why can’t I go to school?

Scripted story to help families explain to children why they have to stay home during the pandemic. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

Wearing Masks Visit disclaimer page

This scripted story helps to explain to children the how, why, and when of wearing face masks. A PDF version in Spanish is available here Visit disclaimer page .

A Resource Collection on Trauma-Informed Care Visit disclaimer page

A resource collection compiled by and for Parent Centers.

Resources for Students

Fighting the Unseen Impacts of COVID-19 Visit disclaimer page

This webinar aimed at youth discussed tools and strategies for promoting mental health and wellbeing for themselves and peers during the pandemic.

Resources to Support Youth During the COVID-19 Outbreak Visit disclaimer page

This resource page by IWGYP offers multiple resources for youth and families covering a variety of topics including: childcare, education, employment, finances, food and nutrition, health and mental health.

Five Tips for Tackling Changes to Your School/Work Routine Visit disclaimer page

This resource outlines five (5) steps that youth can take to better adjust to working or learning online.

Five Tips for Tackling Changes to Your Personal Routine Visit disclaimer page

This resource outlines five (5) steps that youth can take to better adjust to unique social challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as missing sporting events and other social gatherings. The YE4C team created a list of tips to help adjust to a new situation.

Fighting the Unseen Impacts of COVID-19 Visit disclaimer page

This webinar aimed at youth discussed tools and strategies for promoting mental health and wellbeing for themselves and peers during the pandemic

Relaxation Techniques for Navigating Stress Visit disclaimer page

This video, via Instagram Live, covers tips on managing stress and anxiety. Several youth share their personal experiences with navigating stress, and techniques for relaxation.

Understanding Trauma & Building Resiliency Visit disclaimer page

This video, via Instagram Live, addresses the multiple traumas that youth may be experiencing right now in addition to the pandemic (including civil unrest and systemic racism). This video focuses on how these events are stressful and traumatic, and how to cope and build resiliency.