Following traumatic experiences, children are often more prone to display feelings of anxiety, anger, depression, frustration, and more.
Aside from fulfilling her responsibilities as a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, Quion Wattree spends much of her time at Gordon Parks Elementary in Kansas City, Missouri, where she teaches fourth grade. For the last two years, Quion has worked to improve the learning environment at Gordon Parks in hopes of helping children learn in a safe place.
According to Quion, “Our student population consists of 100 percent free and reduced meals, 94 percent of our student population has experienced at least one traumatic event, and 67 percent have experienced at least three traumatic events in their lifetime. As you can imagine, this creates many barriers to learning and student success.” Because of the personal background of many of the students at Gordon Parks Elementary, teachers have the extra challenge of helping the children deal with traumatic life events in a healthy way.
Teachers and administrators have worked to implement teaching methods and special programs that help the children get past personal problems and traumas, and learn. On a regular basis, school counselors and teachers help the children work through feelings of frustration, anger, fear, and hopelessness that come as a result of their circumstances. The elementary school has also partnered with a local mental health agency in hopes of helping these students cope with traumatic life events and other troubling problems. This partnership includes teaching mindfulness, self-calming, and self-replenishing techniques to all students.
For anyone who has undergone a traumatic experience, it is possible to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Children and adults who develop PTSD can experience depressed and anxious feelings for weeks, months, or years after the traumatic experience occurs.1 For children who are experiencing feelings of anxiousness, depression, fear, anger, or frustration as a result of a traumatic event, it is important to address the issue and help the child learn to cope with their PTSD or anxious feelings in a healthy way.
Gordon Parks Elementary has designed their class structure and school programs in hopes of helping students who are forced to cope with frustrating and anxious feelings every day as a result of their life events. With the help of concerned teachers and by partnering with mental health professionals, the Gordon Parks staff hopes to give these children a safe, loving environment to learn in. As a teacher, Quion wants her students to develop a love for learning, and to see the value of an education. She says, “Learning can’t begin until students feel safe, valued, and loved.” This is why Quion chooses to teach at Gordon Parks, working with other teachers and administrators to truly make a difference in the lives of these students.