In the eyes of a little boy or girl, there’s something almost magical about a preschool teacher, especially the quintessential sort who is sweet, pretty, patient, and energetic all at the same time. That’s how Erika Brannock, the 29-year-old who teaches preschool at Trinity Episcopal Children’s Center, has been described by those who know her.
It’s probably almost inconceivable to preschool students that their wonderful teacher would be so badly injured in a bomb explosion that she had to have half of her leg amputated. But that’s exactly what happened to her last Monday, as she went to the Boston Marathon to cheer on her mother in the race (read coverage here).
Scores of adults have been captivated by the unfolding news of this young woman’s injury. But what about her students? How much do they know about what happened to their teacher? How are they coping? What is it like to be at school without her?
We caught up with Reverend Beverly Braine, director of Towson’s Trinity Episcopal Children’s Center where Brannok teaches, to learn the answers to these and other related questions. She graciously agreed to share how everyone at the preschool is handling the difficult situation.
What has the school told the children about Miss Brannock’s injury?
We told the children that our Miss Erika was visiting in another city, and while she was there she got hurt, and that the doctors are working very hard to help her feel better soon.
How much do children know about Miss Brannock’s injury beyond what they’ve been told in school?
Beginning on Tuesday morning, we had quite a range of knowledge among children, from absolutely no awareness whatsoever to some children ever so interested in sharing graphic details.
How do the teachers respond to children’s comments about the incident?
They will listen, but not comment, on what the children say. They [teachers] don’t want to be adding any information that their parents may not want them to have. Teachers pass on to parents of that particular child what he or she said in school.
Are the children asking when Miss Erika will return?
We haven’t done the “She’ll be back on such and such a day.” And no one has asked. We keep focusing on the positive things we can do to help our Miss Erika feel better.
Well, she is the ultimate, uber Ravens fan. So we’re having one our purple Ravens days where all the kids wear purple and we’re making a big banner with a picture of us in our purple gear, and we’ll roll it up and mail it to her. We also have a big box where we’re collecting cards and well wishes that will go up to Boston with a parent on a business trip next week.
Anyone interested in more information on the trust fund that has been established for Erika Brannock can go to http://www.TheBrannockFund.com. Also, donations to the fund can be made payable to the Erika Brannock Fund and mailed to the Erika Brannock Fund, P.O. Box 828, Sparks 21152.
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