During natural catastrophes and armed conflicts the external infrastructure collapses. Emergency aid measures, for example the delivery of clean drinking water, food, medicine, blankets, and tents, are important for the survival of the affected persons and are provided by numerous organisations in the area of humanitarian aid. The emergency pedagogy of the Friends of Waldorf Education provides in this context pedagogical first aid for traumatised children and adolescents. In the psycho-social sector, it offers a non confrontational, pedagogical approach, which supports and promotes the processing process. In contrast to psychotherapy, emergency pedagogy measures take place in groups instead of individually. Cultural-specific elements, like customary children's songs and games are included. Last but not least, the qualifying and cooperation with local pedagogues are indispensible.
The emergency pedagogy missions
During emergency pedagogy crisis interventions, professionals from pedagogical, therapeutic, and medical professions contribute their skills on a volunteer basis, who due to their area-specific compentences and methode repertoire work with different target groups. The three focal points of emergency pedagogy:
1. The work with traumatised children and adolescents
The focus of emergency pedagogy crisis interventions is the psycho-social stabilisation of traumatised children and adolescents. At every mission a rhythmitised, structured daily routine is introduced, which includes both rest and action phases. Depending on the possibilites on location, fixed eating and sleeping times are established, in order to convey safety and security to the children and adolescents.
In structured play times, in free play, and in periods of creative-artistic design (drawing, painting,sculpting, kneading etc.) the self healing powers are set free again and activated. At the same time, the children are given the oppurtunity through artisitc activites to express their experiences nonverbally, which additionally supports the processing process.
2. Multiplier Training (Capacity Building)
The cooperation with local professionals includes theoretical and practical elements. On the theoretical level local colleagues are introduced to traumatology and emergency pedagogy. The training units are supplemented with theoretical and practical methods for conveying knowledge, during which they are encouraged to bring songs and games etc. from their own culture in an emergency pedagogy context to the mission.
3. Parent Advising
In order to establish sustainable emergency pedagogy interventions, it is important to include parents in the work and at the same time to support them in dealing with trauma related changes in their children’s behaviour. Integral parts of the parent advising can be questions about parenting problems, about dealing with traumatised children, but also general family problems.
The work with children and adolescents, the multiplier training as well as the inclusion of parents are - depending on local conditions - integral parts of every emergency pedagogy crisis intervention, but the focus is always on the pedagogical work with children and adolescents. During follow-up missions or trauma-pedagogical interventions however, the main focus shifts often to the training and further education of the adults.