Trauma-Informed Practice for Teaching Artists

NEXT CLASS: SPRING 2022 (Dates to be Announced)

An in-depth training to incorporate trauma informed practice into your teaching with young people

Why should teaching artists be trauma-informed?

Philadelphia is working toward becoming a trauma-informed city in which public policy recognizes and supports those in our city whose lives are impacted by trauma.  Trauma can be living in a community with persistent violence, deep poverty, or in any environment that is chronically unstable.  It is crucial that the work of teaching artists is seen as a strategy to help people deal with trauma and that teaching artists are equipped to effectively and responsibly work with participants who have been impacted by trauma.

Any artist working in community settings will encounter young people who have been impacted by trauma. While teaching artists rarely have details access to a participant’s personal history, there are tools they can use to identify a young person who is potentially trauma-impacted and strategies that they can employ to accommodate and engage that young person.

Note: While this program is being offered virtually so is accessible anywhere, priority will be given to teaching artists in the Philadelphia region. If you are outside of Philadelphia and interested in opportunities for this training, you can sign up for updates here or email us to find out about bringing the training to your community.

Structure of the Training: Over the course of five, half-day sessions, a cohort of up to 12 teaching artists will deeply engage in rigorous presentations by leaders in trauma-informed practice and its application in a range of artistic disciplines. Participants will be asked to complete outside reading and reflection questions and, when possible, test the strategies they are learning in real time in their classrooms.

Teaching Artists must commit to attend all five, 4-hour training sessions to be held via Zoom conferencing from 5:00-9:00 pm on Mondays.

What You Will Learn

Upon completion of the training, teaching artists recognize:

  • The neurological and psychological nature of trauma.

  • How trauma affects the brain, behavior, ability to trust, and ability to forge healthy relationships.

  • How trauma can affect self-image, and lead to shame and fear.

  • Behavior in students that indicates potential trauma, fear, shame or stress.

  • What a trauma-impacted student does (and doesn’t) need to successfully participate and learn in a workshop setting.

  • How arts can be healing, and what particular skills can help to heal trauma and build resiliency.

  • The signs of secondary or vicarious trauma in themselves or in teaching partners.

Upon completion of the training, teaching artists can:

  • Provide moments of consistency, ritual, and choice-making in their workshop culture.

  • When a moment of trauma arises, provide students with a series of options that can help them release and regulate themselves through that moment.

  • Adapt their lesson plans into a trauma-informed model.

  • Adapt their facilitation practice into a trauma-informed model.

  • Responsibly address trauma by creating moments of positivity and healing in their workshops.

  • Find moments to guide students through personal reflection about themselves, to help them recognize and acknowledge positive traits.

  • Follow a safety plan for themselves and regularly incorporate self-care into their lives.

Who is Eligible?

  • Teaching artists in all disciplines.

  • Track record of at least three years of working with communities affected by trauma in- or out-of-school settings.

  • Committed to teaching artist work with young people (K-12) as a significant part of your creative practice.

  • Desire to be part of an ongoing learning community of teaching artists.

Your Commitment to the Training

  • Attend all five, 4-hour training sessions. Class will take place entirely via Zoom video conferencing.

  • Prepare pre-work and be ready to contribute to each session to make workshop time efficient.

  • Engage in each session with focus, curiosity and an open mind.

Bartol Foundation Commitment to You

  • Convene practitioners in the field as presenters and participants who will bring knowledge and commitment to the training.

  • Create an organized, supportive virtual environment for learning including learning materials, screen breaks and follow-up as needed.

  • Listen fully to suggestions to improve the training both in real time and for future cohorts.

  • Support the ongoing continuation of a learning community at the conclusion of the training, if desired by the participants.

Stipend: Upon successful completion by teaching artists of all five sessions, the Bartol Foundation will provide a stipend of $200 to each teaching artist in recognition of their participation.


Co- Facilitator: Mae A. Early (she/her) is a writer, theatre artist, and educator who lives and works in Philadelphia. As an arts educator, she believes that we all deserve a safe and supportive environment to explore our voice and identity. In service of this mission, she facilitates arts workshops for all ages and ability levels at schools, community centers, corporations, and nonprofits. She is currently the Director of Education at Philadelphia Young Playwrights, a theatre education organization that uses playwriting as a vehicle to increase students’ comfort with writing, literacy, and creative expression. Mae is the creator and lead facilitator of the Bartol Foundation’s 20-hour trauma-informed training for teaching artists and arts education administrators, and a co-creator of Whole HeART Teaching, a resource center with curated materials like lesson plans, activities, and other supplementary artifacts that are healing-centered and place student agency at the center of learning.

Mae regularly facilitates professional development across sectors and ages in the areas of trauma-informed and healing-centered teaching, teaching artistry, arts education pedagogy, creative writing, theatre, and workforce development. Recent recipients of her workshops include Spiral Q, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Dancing Classrooms Philly, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the TempleCares Workforce Program, to name a few. To date, she has completed 150 hours of trauma-informed training through the Lakeside Global Institute, including classes such as Processing Pain and Facilitating Healing and Enhancing Capacity for Applying Trauma-Informed Principles

Co-Facilitator: Betsaleel (Bets) Charmelus (he/him) is a facilitator, community advocate & an auditory story-teller. Whether in his work as a program director for the anti-violence, music based non-profit Beyond the Bars, facilitating as a music instructor for survivors of sexual trauma with JJPI’s B.O.S.S Program, coordinating men’s mental health support groups or aural story-telling in the nationally acclaimed, all-black rock band ill Fated Natives, Bets is passionate about finding & claiming new spaces, building strong, inter-connected communities & exploring the difference between questioning oneself and asking oneself questions. Bets is a graduate of the Bartol Foundation’s training in Trauma-Informed Practice for Teaching Artists and Trauma-Informed Teaching Artist Practices and Identity. He serves as a member of the Board of the Bartol Foundation.

This training cohort is supported by a grant from Philadelphia Foundation.