A significant number of children suffer long-term psychological disturbance following exposure to a natural disaster. Evidence suggests that a dose-response relationship exists, so that children and adolescents who experience the most intense or extensive exposure to the risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are likely to develop the most serious and persistent symptoms. Risk factors include gender, age, personality, extent of exposure to the natural disaster, amount of damage to property and infrastructure, witnessing the death or injury of others or perceiving a threat to one's own life. Knowing these factors enables various strategies to be put in place to decrease the risk of psychological disturbance following traumatic events. Reestablishing a sense of safety, security and normality is important in the aftermath of a natural disaster, and promoting social connectedness, positive family functioning and effective coping mechanisms can make children more resilient in the face of catastrophic events. This paper examines the risk and protective factors associated with the development of PTSD, and considers how schools can use this knowledge to contribute to the recovery effort and reduce the prevalence of PTSD among pupils in the wake of a natural disaster.