The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York recently awarded a $24,942 grant to the trauma intervention project, Maternal Child Health Spot Booster, led by Syracuse University’s Falk College Trauma-Informed Scholars in partnership with the Syracuse Trauma Response Team (TRT).
The proposed sustainable intervention strategy aims to help preschoolers in the areas of the Syracuse community most affected by violence and the resulting trauma. Starting this fall, the research team will train Head Start teaching staff and bring mindful yoga intervention to 4- and 5-year-old classrooms at Merrick Head Start, part of the Syracuse City School District and Onondaga County’s federally designated Community Action Agency, PEACE, Inc. The three project phases include:
- Phase 1: Provide two trauma-informed trainings to teachers and staff in local Head Start centers responsible caring for preschool aged children.
- Phase 2: Offer mindfulness training, including yoga, to children under age 5 and their families.
- Phase 3: Falk College Trauma-Informed Scholars and the TRT provide ongoing, sustainable consolidation and follow up.
Project director, Rachel Razza, Ph. D., is an associate professor and graduate director of Human Development and Family Science at Syracuse University Falk College. Her scholarly work focuses on children’s self-regulation—children’s ability to monitor cognitive strategies and adapt behavior to fit situational demands—especially among at-risk children, who are particularly vulnerable to self-regulatory deficits.
“Mindfulness-based practice is being increasing used with teachers and children as a strategy for reducing the negative impacts of stress and trauma,” says Dr. Razza. “Benefits for children include enhanced self-regulation, which has important implications for their school readiness, as well as their future academic and socioemotional competence.”