The development of ICEC is based upon:
- First hand experience in areas of extreme poverty, armed conflict and natural disasters;
- Ten years of participation in urban peace work and conflict transformation/resolution resulting in Toxic Literacies which focuses on the lives of two women and two men who were drug and alcohol addicted, and homeless or incarcerated.
- Anthropological, sociological and pedagogical research which focuses on children who have experienced catastrophic events or live in areas where there are ongoing adverse events taking place;
- Medical and psychiatric research which focuses on biopsychosocial and developmental perspectives of adverse childhood experiences in which complex trauma is regarded as an organizing principle;
- The recommendations of UNICEF which focus on the importance of the re-establishment of schools following catastrophic events, and the importance of long term educational opportunities for children who have experiences of emergency situations;
- Pedagogical practices in safe environments which focus on using language and literacy activities, and arts and science projects that are sensitive and responsive to the local conditions of the children’s everyday lives. The pedagogical practices are:
- In keeping with the recommendations of educational researchers and scholars, psychiatrists and physicians, and international aid organizations the activities are strengths based and meaningful in the lives of the children who participate;
- Culturally and linguistically relevant activities and age appropriate for very young children, older children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events or experience on-going toxic stress;
- Supported by thirty five years of first-hand research in family, community and school settings in multiple contexts including studies of children living in areas of urban and rural poverty and research in areas of armed conflict and natural disasters;
- Responsive to the major educational recommendations of UNICEF following the 2004 tsunami in India and South East Asia;
- Grounded in theoretical and empirical medical and psychiatric research on complex trauma and children;
- Responsive to a meta-analysis of studies of mass trauma which indicates that the reestablishment of the social structures (such as schools) in children’s everyday lives is of critical importance to their recovery from complex trauma;
- Seven years of continuous development of a world wide network of scholars, teachers, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, aid workers and philanthropists who are willing to participate in the work of ICEC;
- Five years of development connections with international humanitarian organizations and non-governmental aid organizations in areas of armed conflict and natural disasters;
- A fully developed proposal for cross-disciplinary, multidimensional approaches to the use of innovative technology that makes a global web of educational opportunities for children who have experienced complex trauma a virtual reality.