In Rivne, the team worked with 58 teachers, social workers and psychologists, and in Lviv with 40 social workers and volunteers working in displacement reception projects in the city. The aim of the introductory seminars was to gain an understanding of the psycho-traumatological concept of trauma, the disorders that can develop as a result of traumatic experiences (PTSD), and to discuss the basic principles of Trauma Pedagogy. Another very important and explicitly expressed need of the participants was the topic of self-care, where exemplary techniques and methods were discussed and tested together. Alternating with the theoretical seminars there were practical workshops on trauma-pedagogical play and games, movement, rhythm and art. On the last day, the participants and team discussed together how they could adapt and implement what they had learnt in their respective work reality.
The situation is extremely challenging and sometimes simply overwhelming for many people working with displaced and other war-affected people. Time and again, the feedback of gratitude for the theoretical and practical input was given, how participants individual resources for their work as well as for themselves were further developed, and that they returned strengthened to their respective work realities after the four days.
An internally displaced teacher from a high-conflict region of Ukraine described how she continues to provide online lessons for her students. Even though she works through the subject material, these online lessons are most importantly strong psychosocial support. Some of the students are abroad, others have fled from eastern to western areas of Ukraine, and some have remained in the high conflict areas. Bringing the class together in this way is an important and empowering anchor in an extremely difficult life situation, especially for those who have stayed. The teacher herself only became fully aware of this aspect and the importance of her online teaching during the training. Now that she can apply the principles of Trauma Education in her sessions, she feels better equipped for this important work.
Jessica Prentice has been implementing and supervising the work of Friends of Waldorf Education on site in Lviv since February 2023 and is continuing to expand it sustainably. She is in contact with the participants of the training courses and continues to support them in the implementation and application of Trauma Pedagogy. Pictures and videos of the participants testify to the relevance and acceptance of these trainings.