Date of Award


Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Kelly Sadlovsky

Second Reader

Elisabeth Amirahmadi


equity, trauma, childhood, trauma-informed, early childhood, early childhood education, professional development, trauma-informed practice


An abundance of research acknowledges the effects of trauma on children from an early age. Prolonged and severe trauma in early childhood can lead to adverse outcomes in important areas of development, such as one’s physical, mental, and social-emotional well-being (Morsy and Rothstein, 2019). Children present school systems and educators with the task of addressing this important, but infrequently considered issue. Trauma has lasting effects regardless of age, but the impacts of trauma during childhood are especially profound during such formative years. Children require safe spaces to learn and flourish as individuals, therefore it is important that early childhood educators are knowledgeable in trauma-informed educational practices that are rooted in equity (Venet, 2021). Seeing trauma through an equity lens not only considers the student, but the problematic systems and structures that also perpetuate the issue. This paper examines research on traumatic student experiences and the link between those relationships and the existing achievement gap in education. The research findings indicate a need to shift from deficit perspectives to a greater collaborative process with students and the education system.

Keywords: trauma, trauma-informed practice, achievement gap, educational equity, safety