Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? Sponsored by FEMA, September is a great time as an educator to ensure students are prepared for handling emergency situations, whether they are school lockdowns or building resilience to stress in the classroom. Here are a few things you can do as a teacher to make adapting to those challenging situations easier for students:
Be Proactive (Not Reactive)
Unfortunately, many times it is not about if something will go wrong but rather when! Be prepared with a disaster supply kit stocked with necessary supplies should a natural disaster occur. (Three days worth of food and water are recommended!) Make sure the kit is accessible from your classroom.
Create a Family Emergency Plan
Knowing how you will communicate with families should something go wrong is key! Having an emergency plan will not only make you feel more prepared but also make families feel safer. For more information on how to create your plan, check out this website: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/prep.html#.VA8W9dzvbBE
Use your Resources
Not only should you have supplies ready to go for potential disasters, but you should also be well informed on how to respond to them. We have several resources you can use as an educator to learn strategies on handling everything from hurricanes to deaths in the family. The most important thing you can do is to be aware of and properly respond to situations that are affecting a child’s social and emotional development.
The Crisis Manual for Early Childhood Teachers is great for any classroom crisis you may stumble across, covering important topics ranging from domestic violence to natural disasters.
Preparing for Disaster provides steps directors can take to ensure programs are prepared to keep children safe when disasters strike. Includes staff-training workshops, helpful guidelines/insights, and task lists.
After the Crisis was written specifically for teachers and details how to identify signs of a child who is suffering from continual stress. Beyond recognition, it also offers literature-based activities to aid children who have been through trauma.