Echo hosted a delegation from Montreal School District this week. On Monday, they kicked up their heels at the one-day Working with Childhood Trauma training, gamely entering into the fun with our ‘mirroring’ and dancing regulation exercises.
Here is some of the team in a more serious moment:
From left to right: Tina Newton, resource teacher, David Meloche, region director,
and Jennifer Kurta, high school principal
The next day, the group of three principals, the district superintendent, two teachers and a behavioral (sorry, ‘behavioural’) consultant, visited Sally Ride Elementary where Echo is now in the third year working with the principal, Cathy Daley, and her staff, as well as parents, rolling out the pilot program for our trauma-informed Whole School Initiative.
The Montreal group has also been working during this time to create trauma-informed schools, guided by the book “Trauma Sensitive Schools” by Susan Craig (speaker at last year’s Echo conference) and was eager to ask questions and share experiences with their U.S. hosts. The visit ended with a tour of the classrooms, which revealed the wonderful creativity some teachers have applied to implementing trauma-informed tools and strategies. In one classroom, students can sit on large bouncy balls instead of chairs and have red, yellow and red plastic cups stacked on their desks. The top cup alerts the teacher to the student’s emotional state (green for calm and focused, yellow for needing help to regulate, and red for agitated or zoned out) and each cup has a strategy written out by the student to remind them what helps them to get back to or stay in the green zone. Every classroom now has a peace corner, which children can elect to use if they are feeling in need of some emotional regulation. The Canadian group seemed to enjoy all of it, snapping pictures of the tools and exclaiming over things they recognized from their own practice.
It is weeks like this that remind us at Echo about how far we have come and that many people over the globe are sharing this journey with us. Thank you Sally Ride Elementary for your warm hospitality and our Canadian friends for your enthusiasm and interest. Now let’s change the world together!
The Canadian delegation with Louise Godbold & Dominique Sanchez (Echo)
and Cathy Daley & Rocio Tafoya (Sally Ride Elementary)