Staff from Community and Family Head Start experiencing the therapeutic value of having transitional objects, in the form of teddy bears, in traumatic times.
Bank Street’s Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP), led by Lesley Koplow, “provides ongoing professional development and on-site consultation to early childhood programs and elementary schools in the area of early childhood development. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, ERP received a grant of $50,000 from the Robin Hood Foundation to work with two elementary schools and a Head Start center in Far Rockaway, aiding children and staff whose lives were upended by the storm’s devastation.
The New York Zero-to-Three Network, an organization supporting healthy early childhood development, recently honored Lesley with the Emily Fenichel Award for Leadership, celebrating her work with infants, toddlers, and families.
Here, Lesley talks about the nature of her work, and about easing the effects of trauma to help communities recover.
How did ERP get involved with Sandy recovery efforts?
There were schools that we knew about and worked with in Far Rockaway before the storm. There was one where water broke the windows, flooded the first floor…. The kids had no electricity for weeks. Many of the teachers live in Far Rockaway, so it was bad for everybody.
Another school that we knew reached out and said, “this is what we’re going through, and can you be helpful?” I had applied for several grants, and Robin Hood responded, and gave us money to work with these three schools.
What does that work include?
We go into the schools