Archive | Early Childhood

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All: Play Therapy with Traumatized Children

The following post is by SOE Faculty Affiliate Eric J. Green, who is presenting at the upcoming Play Therapy Institute. Click here to learn more about that exciting event.

“Dragons breathing flame on my counterpane, that doesn’t frighten me at all.” – Maya Angelou, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

“Dragons breathing flame on my counterpane, that doesn’t frighten me at all.” – Maya Angelou, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

School-based violence, community violence associated with gang activity, natural and human-made disasters, terrorism, and other forms of acute or chronic trauma affect a significant number of children every year (Green, 2012). Exposure to traumatic events during childhood often leads to maladjustment that disrupts the typical maturation process. These children display iterations of trauma-related symptoms including dysphoria, hyperarousal, extreme sensitivity, interpersonal discord, and ostensible changes in healthy eating and/or sleeping habits. Play therapy is a potentially beneficial mental health treatment modality for traumatized children that is (a) developmentally-sensitive; (b) facilitates emotional safety by utilizing less threatening forms of communication than the standard “talking cure,” (c) engenders positive self-worth through creative self-expression, (d) fosters self-efficacy in collaborative problem solving; and (e) derives healing from the nonjudgmental, therapeutic relationship.

For some children and adolescents, writing about aberrant thoughts and feelings surrounding a potentially traumatic experience and then depicting them symbolically through play-based media like sandplay and abstract artwork is less threatening than expressing the information verbally and may assist with integration. Prominent trauma researchers van der Kolk and d’Andrea (2010) state that simply talking about traumatic experiences does not necessarily assist the mind and brain to integrate the dissociated images and cognitions into a cohesive whole so healing may activate. Through creative play-based therapy sessions, like those that incorporate the coloring of mandalas, children and clinicians may engage in co-participating activities that further the child’s trust in others and increase the opportunities for post-traumatic integration to occur.

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Imagine: Henderson Hopkins and the new model for education

Conveying the concept of a transformative model of education in simple ways to multiple audiences is difficult, so the School of Education has partnered with Storyfarm for the above animation, which breaks down the vision for the Henderson Hopkins K-8 school and early childhood center in East Baltimore.

Learn more about the school and center, which are under construction and expected to open in the fall of 2013, by watching the video and visiting


New director has big plans at Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

Elaine Tuttle Hansen at the Center for Talented Youth

Elaine Tuttle Hansen is executive director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun / December 21, 2011)

The Baltimore Sun has a nice write-up on Elaine Tuttle Hansen, the new executive director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, in Wednesday’s edition of the newspaper.

Hansen, who previously served as president of Bates College in Lewiston, ME, can relate to the CTY students, she told the newspaper. Her first college class was an eye-opening experience after growing up as a ‘smart kid’ in her small Massachusetts town.

“It was like, ‘Oh my God, there are people out there like me,” she says. Continue Reading →