Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

First Advisor

Denisha Jones

Second Advisor

Patricia Virella

Third Advisor

Jerusha Beckerman


In recent years, a number of schools and districts across America have begun implementing trauma-sensitive classroom models. However, the current reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the traumatic stress of the 2020 incidents of police violence and domestic terrorism necessitate further exploration of this work. My inquiry explores the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s learning and development. Taking a trauma-sensitive lens, I examine how trauma manifests in the elementary classroom, review the literature on COVID-19 collective trauma, and propose a model for trauma-sensitive teaching in pandemic and post-pandemic times. I make an argument for teachers to structure their classrooms and curricula to be trauma-sensitive through a focus on play, relationship-building, and student agency, given the new reality in which we all reside.