[Sub ID 4705] Trauma sensitive learning environments (Connections UnitingCare)

Submission ID: 4705
Organisation name: Connections UnitingCare
State: VIC

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young carers, Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Young people’s disengagement from formal learning due to the impacts of trauma, disadvantage, or family circumstance is a precipitating factor for long-term poverty, unemployment and challenges in participating in the community in a healthy attuned way.

Normative adolescent development necessitates varied ways of engaging young people, due to changing sleep patterns and social, emotional, and cognitive functioning. Within a context of trauma, ability to manage impulse control and executive functioning, and lack of connection with formal learning environments, can create barriers to engagement.

Young people who are carers or have disengaged from learning due to disadvantage need trauma-sensitive learning environments that support their participation by providing programs at optimum times to suits their developmental stage, with a focus on their individual needs. Research reflects that optimal hours for adolescent learning are between 1-7pm, when students are more able to actively engage in their learning. Vulnerable young people who have disengaged from school, or are at risk of doing so, require access to numeracy, literacy, and living skills within a non-traditional, trauma-sensitive environment at times that are structured around these optimum learning times and cater to their individual circumstances, for example, young carers’ commitments so the person in their care.

What is your idea?
The development of trauma-sensitive learning environment for disadvantaged young people in the target group to access learning in numeracy, literacy, and living skills within a flexible and relational setting that supports emotional, social and cognitive wellbeing, with a view to accessing opportunities within their wider community.

A program that supports learning opportunities through sessions held out of hours to support access for young carers and young people who cannot utilise services within a daytime schedule. Sessions would be conducted twice a week in a location to facilitate maximum access, with teachers and social workers available to support their learning and help them manage the challenges they face with their learning and in everyday life.

The young person would have an individualised learning and support plan that would be outcome-based with a view to supporting and minimising the challenges facing the young person due to their disadvantage.

Educators and social workers would work together to develop a young person’s individual plans whilst also sourcing mentors and linkages within local communities to facilitate sustainable outcomes for the young people.