Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type





College of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Lisa Ciganek


Nearly half of US children have experienced one or more types of serious trauma with rates continually increasing. Early childhood educators get a first-hand encounter with childhood trauma as it affects the learning and behavior of young students. Young children process their trauma differently whether that be through behavioral issues or a withdrawn demeanor. Building strong, positive relationships with students and creating a safe learning environment are practical methods used by educators when working with traumatized young learners, however there is much more to be done to best meet the needs of these students. This thesis emphasizes the detrimental effects of early trauma on brain development and education with an exploration of current literature. This qualitative study, involving a variety of stakeholders within early childhood education, reveals a notable need for an implementation of trauma-informed practices and professional development training within the early learning environment.