Trauma-informed Education

Advance your understanding of trauma. Learn how to support traumatised children in the classroom.

Learn about the complexities of childhood trauma from Dr Anne Southall, an educator and researcher with more than 30 years' experience in the field of trauma and education. Understand the theory and latest best practice, and develop better ways to support students who’ve experienced trauma.

Register your interest


Location Online
Time/s Interactive sessions 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm AEST
Duration 6 weeks (6 x 1-hour sessions)
Registrations closeRegister your interest now
Prerequisites/s There are no prerequisites for this course
Certification Certificate of Completion
Fee/s Standard price $528.00 inc. GST
Group bookings of 10 or more $385.00 inc. GST
La Trobe staff price Free
La Trobe student price $110.00 inc. GST

This short course is an introduction to trauma theory and practice. Designed for educators and other professionals working in schools, the six weekly classes will introduce you to evidence-based approaches for working with traumatised students. You’ll explore a variety of interventions, pedagogies and practices that can help you better support children and help alter their life trajectories.

Trauma-informed education is an emerging field. It draws from the fields of psychology, neuroscience and public health, which have shown the profound impact of trauma on brain development and learning. Armed with this new research and understanding, educators and schools can create new policies and practices that improve wellbeing and learning outcomes for their students.

The course is recommended for all professionals working in schools, including principals, teachers, psychologists, speech therapists and other support services, including school counsellors and wellbeing staff. It’s been specially designed to equip them with the skills they need to safely and effectively support affected children.

Why learn about trauma?

In the last two decades, the field of neuroscience has broadened our understanding of the impact of traumatic experience and extreme fear during early development (Perry, 1999, 2006, 2009). Early childhood trauma and its effects on learning and behaviour often lead to academic failure and early drop out from school.

Trauma informed practice arising from this research, is now informing a range of responses recommended for schools. Understanding these recommendations and the science informing them, will support educators to create classroom environments that promote the sense of safety and connectedness traumatised students need in order to succeed.

While the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet clear, researchers suggest it could be contributing to cumulative trauma for many children. Early research suggests children may have an increased chance of developing mood and anxiety disorders, elevated hyperarousal symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (lvbijaro, Brooks, Kolkiewicz, Sunkel, & Long, 2020).

With children returning to schools, we need to ensure a sense of safety is re-established. By providing a more trauma-informed education to support young people, we can be more responsive to the needs of students and educators in the wake of the pandemic.

Course content

You’ll explore the neuroscience that informs trauma theory and develop your understanding of the profound impact of traumatic experience on early brain development and learning. You’ll examine the principles that underpin trauma-informed education and determine how these principles may inform pedagogy and learning for students who have experienced trauma.

You’ll learn:

Week 1: Traumatic experience. The history of PTSD and contemporary neuroscientific understandings.

Week 2: Complex trauma and attachment theory. The impact of early childhood trauma on early brain development and learning.

Week 3: Generational trauma. The impact of community trauma and its aftermath.

Week 4: Trauma-informed education. The principles of a trauma-informed school.

Week 5: Trauma-informed pedagogies and practices. A framework for intervention.

Week 6: The reflective practitioner and vicarious trauma. Caring for the carers.

Your study experience

Your learning activities are self-paced so you can study at a time that works for you. Over the six weeks you are encouraged to engage with our academics and other students through a range of materials and learning forums with further learning materials available for those that want to go beyond the core curriculum.

There are two live and interactive sessions held throughout the program where you will be able to engage with La Trobe academics and other students. All sessions will be recorded and made available for participants who are unable to attend.

Your study commitment will be approximately two hours per week.

To receive a Certificate of Completion to submit towards your annual CPD hours you will be required to meet activity and participation requirements.

About the teacher

Dr Anne Southall is a child trauma expert in La Trobe’s School of Education. She is coordinator of the Master of Inclusion and Diversity specialising in childhood trauma and mental health and wellbeing in schools.

Through her research, Dr Southall investigates how we can best educate children from traumatic backgrounds. Given the profound and long-term impact of trauma on brain development, she helps to develop effective interventions that can improve their life outcomes and wellbeing.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the field of special education and mainstream primary schools, Dr Southall has worked in both classroom practice and leadership roles in Australia and the UK. Through her work at La Trobe, she partners with education providers in regional Victoria to develop more trauma-informed approaches which might alter the life trajectories of vulnerable students.

Additional requirements

  1. Broadband internet access and an active email address that can be accessed during the workshop.
  2. A webcam, mic and headset/speaker is required.  All workshops are conducted in small groups and are interactive.

Further information


T: 1300 135 045


This program is subject to minimum enrolment numbers. A refund will be provided if the program is cancelled.