During the recent challenging times in our community following the traumatic events of the 2016 Flood that devastated South Louisiana, Knock Knock’s board, staff and volunteers reached out to the community with resources and assistance to help with the recovery efforts.
Helping Children Rebound
Through a generous donation from Teaching Strategies, LLC, Knock Knock received 10,000 copies of two books authored by Knock Knock Education Chair, Cate Heroman and mental health specialist Jenna Bilmes to distribute to infant/toddler and preschool teachers in flood-impacted areas in Louisiana. These are practical guides to help teachers respond to emotional needs of children who have experienced a traumatic event such as a flood, hurricane or violence. The books are also available as a free downloads:
- Helping Children Rebound: Strategies for Preschool Teachers
- Helping Children Rebound: Strategies for Infant/Toddler Teachers
Additional hard copies are available at the Knock Knock office. Please email Katie Page to reserve your copies and arrange for pick up.
Rebounding Through Play Kits
Young children don’t have the same cognitive abilities as adults to talk about what is troubling them. No matter what kind of trauma children have experienced, they need a way to express it. If their thoughts, feelings, and ideas are too hard to put into words, children can work through trauma with play.
Knock Knock Children’s Museum received a generous grant from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Flood Recovery Fund to develop and distribute 47 Rebounding Through Play kits. The kits are designed to support the emotional needs of children as they cope in the aftermath of the flood of 2016 as well as other types of trauma they may experience. The kits Include:
- Hands-on classroom materials to help children to calm themselves, manage their feelings, and cope with frustration;
- 17 high quality children’s books that encourage social/emotional development;
- 2 CDs with songs supporting the emotional needs of children; and
- Teacher resources and tools to help children relieve stress and promote self-regulation.
Preschool teachers and childcare providers whose classrooms flooded in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, and Ascension parishes were selected to receive the kits. Our Education Chair, Cate Heroman, and the Project Coordinator, Margaret Eaton provided training for the teachers on how to best use the materials to respond to children’s emotional needs during play. The teachers, many of whom lost their own homes in the flood, were excited to receive the materials and to learn more about helping young children work on the issues that are troubling them, talk about trauma, and imagine what the future will be. School systems and childcare providers continue to work hard to rebuild their preschool classrooms with basic materials and furnishings. We hope that these materials will enrich and enhance their learning environment and help support a caring, responsive classroom community.
Recorded Webinar - Helping Children Rebound from Traumatic Experiences: How to Create Classrooms that Support Recovery from Traumatic Events
On October 25th, Knock Knock Education Chair Cate Heroman and her co-author Jenna Bilmes presented a free webinar to over 3,200 teachers, administrators, mental health specialists, and others supporting the emotional needs of children who have experienced trauma. The objectives of this webinar were to help participants learn:
- How young children might behave after a traumatic event.
- How to create a physical environment and classroom structure that supports children as they recover from traumatic experiences.
- How to meet the emotional needs of children who exhibiting difficulties in coping.
In this national webinar, Heroman and Bilmes shared examples of how traumatic events such as natural disasters, terrorist incidents, witnessing violence, and even seeing reports of death and destruction in the news can impact children’s behavior. The webinar session also included specific strategies to help teachers meet the emotional needs of children who have been affected by traumatic experiences.
The link to view the prerecorded webinar and access the webinar handouts and other resources can be accessed at the following online registration page: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2456785442412471044
Knock Knock’s presentation at the BRAF Trauma and Resiliency Conference
Knock Knock Education Chair Cate Heroman presented a breakout session at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Trauma and Resiliency Conference in November, 2016 at the Tracy Center in Baton Rouge. The session, Helping Children Rebound from Traumatic Events: Strategies for Early Childhood Educators, was presented on the first day of the conference. To learn more about the conference, follow this link: http://www.brbridge.org/conference-information/
Resource List: Helping Children Cope After a Natural Disaster
Knock Knock worked with other city, state and federal organizations to compile a list of websites and downloadable resources that focus on supporting the emotional needs of young children following the flood or a natural disaster. These resources are available to share with parents, teachers, friends, and caregivers. http://knockknockmuseum.org/pdf/Helping-Children-Cope-After-a-Natural-Disaster.pdf
Knock Knock Assists Community in Flood Relief and Recovery
In the aftermath of the flood, Knock Knock volunteers and staff offered hands-on assistance in the recovery effort. To assist our neighbors adjacent to the museum, Knock Knock spent many hours at the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Flood Relief Distribution Center organizing and distributing clothing, food, toys, and clean-up supplies. In addition, many volunteers responded to a request from the East Baton Rouge Parish School Foundation to help clean up schools so children could return as quickly as possible.