Trauma Informed Practice

with Jase Williams

What is trauma informed practice?

A trauma informed approach to education is all about looking at the whole child that is coming through the school gate each morning. This includes understanding the neuroscience of stress, trauma, and the brain.

It is a social emotional learning journey for all those involved that relies on understanding the past experiences of a child and how these impact on learning, behaviour and more. It is embracing any and all physical, social and emotional trauma that may be impacting a child and ensuring their needs are not only met but that the trauma impacting them is addressed in ways that allow the child to thrive.

Understand - the big idea (why is this important)

The underlying factor of many education related issues is trauma. Poor attendance – trauma. Poor academic progress – trauma. Trauma differs between people and is significant to that person. What is traumatic to one person may not be to another.

Trauma impacts what we think, feel and believe. It impacts our ability to learn and to fit into the “educational institution box”. Often educators try to solve the surface problems that might be showing as attendance or behaviour, but under those problems lie the real problem of trauma. Understanding and addressing this can have huge positive benefits on a child’s health, social and academic wellbeing.

Know - the knowledge (what do I need to know)

“Learning isn’t curriculum” – Brucy Perry.
Having a true sense of identity, a sense of belonging will allow learning to happen.

Understanding the neuroscience of stress, trauma, and the brain is valuable to ensure our learners are being seen as whole people. Remember that their trauma is their trauma and may differ greatly to your trauma.  Educators need to know and understand their own trauma as well as that of the children in their care.  Know better – do better.

Do - the practices (how do I implement this)

As Jase explains there is no magic bullet. The answer is relationships and love.

Educators can:

  • Think about the physical environment and if spaces are being provided for learners to self regulate (with nature wherever possible).
  • Truly start to see the child and not the behaviour.
  • Take a look inside and recognise your own trauma which will support you to really connect.
  • Implement brain breaks, yoga, calming activities that allow learners to regulate.
  • Stop trying to control behaviour and actions and instead look for and address the root cause of this.

Further Learning

Jase is an MOE Accredited Facilitator in Trauma Informed Practice and also a trainer in the Neuroseuential Model in Education.  He can be contacted at or follow him on Instagram at traumainformednz

Jase recommends the books to the right as well as content by Nathan Wallis and Katherine Burkett. 

The below schools are recommended by Jase for educators interested in trauma informed practice to check out further.

  • Glenview School – Porirua
  • Camberley School – Hastings
  • Oaklynn School – Auckland
  • Kōwhai Special School – Hastings
  • Mayfair School – Hastings
Picture of Jase Williams

Jase Williams

Former Principal of Henry Hill School - a decile 1A Primary School in Napier, Hawke's Bay - Winners of the 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards - Wellbeing category. Certified trainer in the Neurosequential Model in Education facilitated by Dr. Bruce Perry - regarded as the world’s leading childhood trauma expert. The only Māori male certified trainer in the Neurosequential Model in Education in the entire world, facilitating monthly Trauma Informed/Aware Hui in Hawke's Bay for local schools, ECE, and health professionals (prior to the recent Covid resurgence) as well as a 'Men's Hui' as a place of healing for whānau in the community - focused on men's mental health and wellbeing from a 'keeping it real' perspective and grounded in neuroscience. Designed Te Āhuru Mōwai - an award winning sensory space made primarily from recycled materials. Te Āhuru Mōwai has also been shared by Dr. Bruce Perry, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Neuroscience educator Nathan Wallis, and has been visited by thousands of educators and health professionals! Presented at various conferences and schools across the country as well as welcoming thousands of visitors to Henry Hill School over the past few years to share this kaupapa with them.


She is not your rehab - Matt & Sarah Brown
The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog - Bruce Perry
What Happened To You? - Bruce Perry & Oprah Winfrey
The Myth Of Normal - Gabor Mate
When The Adults Change Everything Changes - Paul Dix

Enjoy the above spotlight? Not a freedom ed member yet?  Join us to access more, rethink more and change more.

Yoga & Mindfulness

Sara Warnock is passionate about spreading wellness throughout schools using yoga and mindfulness. She shares with us the science behind the practice, practical tips for teachers and lots more. Upskill yourself and make a real difference to yourself and your learners.

Join to read more.

Join Cynthia Hancox as we discuss all things homeschooling. We delve into the what, why, and how, of this educational choice. Cynthia provides helpful advice for parents as well as schools & teachers who can support families in their ongoing education journey. (FREE)

Teaching as Inquiry

Rebbecca Sweeney's understanding, experience, and expertise around the ins and outs, benefits, and practices of teaching as inquiry is second to none. Join us as Rebecca shares how effective Spirals of Inquiry can transform learning for students, teachers, and schools.

Join to read more.

Jenny Tebbutt has a wealth of knowledge and experience in identifying and supporting children with learning difficulties. She shares details with us about how and why these learners are being let down and what schools, teachers, and parents can do about it

Join to read more.
Project Based Learning

Lauren Pugh shares with us the why and how of project-based learning. She steps us through a straightforward model and provides insight into the hands-on engaging, and actionable learning that awaits.

Join to read more.

Join Lizzy Bayliss as we discuss the wonderful world of collaboration in education. Become inspired by hearing the benefits to learners and teachers, along with practical ways to make collaboration really work for you.

Join to read more.
Learning Through Play

Sarah Aiono of Longworth Education shares with us the ins and outs of learning through play. What it is, what it is not, the benefits, how to get started, what it could look like across the school and how to learn more.

Join to read more.
Classroom Culture

Join Karen Tui Boyes as we discuss creating a positive and innovative classroom culture. Help your learners be thinkers and problem solvers by focusing on the process and progress of learning.

Join to read more.