Loss Grief and Growth Education ResourceWorkshop for teachers
Developed with sponsorship from:
Death neither obeys the school timetable nor appears on it... it enters the classroom without knocking. www.winstonswish.org
Yves Berthiaume story of his father dying when he was 12 and the teachers who supported and mentored him
We need to address the needs of kids Yves BerthiumeDeveloped tours of the funeral homes
The most frequent question from teachersHow do I support grieving students?
Written by teachers for teachers
Loss Grief and Growth honors the relationship between students and teachers.
Teachers are connected with students:before, during and after the loss occurs.when some have forgotten the needs of a grieving child.
Loss Grief and Growth honors teachers as:mentors,creators of a safe environment,communicators inviting expression of feelings and fears, and creative leaders of teachable moments.
Loss Grief and Growth honors children
We are powerless to control the losses and catastrophic events our children may experience, but by honouring their inner wisdom, providing mentorship, and creating safe havens for expression, we can empower them to become more capable, more caring human beings. Linda Goldman
One of the myths of our society is that it is possible to insulate children from the traumas of loss, death, bereavement, and grief.
Loss is a part of life.
DivorceMovingDevelopmentalAnd out kids are exposed to death
Types of losses
Death in the familygrandparents,parents, siblings, pets, friends
Death in the mediaNews - global community violent/sudden/tragic/terrorist/war/conflict
Death in the school community Peoplepeers teachers,support staff custodial stafffamily members of peers
and school curriculum.
Death in the communityNot only do we grieve as individuals, we grieve as communities. Our lives are so intertwined that each of us is affected by a death in our community. Dr. John Morgan
Griefis a normal healthy response to loss.is a whole person response.
Grievingis the process of integrating the loss into ones life and making meaning of lifes experiences.
Grievingis not something to get over
is not something that needs to be fixed
New losses can trigger old losses.
we regrieve at future levels of growth, development, and future life events.
Misconceptions about grievingThere is a right way to grieve
There are stages of grief
Grief is/should be time limitedIt is time to get over thisWhen will she get over this?
Factors which influence grieving
The age and stage of development
Social Support System
Intuitive grieving styleThe typical grief response e.g. crying, talking.
Sadness is the primary emotion.
Grief is processed through feelings.
Recognitionof the lossthe grief andthe griever
Instrumental Grieving StyleLittle talk, lots of action..Grief is processed cognitively rather than emotionally.If expressed, an emotion is more likely to be anger than sadness.
Type and nature of death
Cause of death
Cultural and Religious Beliefs
What you might see
In Elementary and Middle School:Children grieve in doses.Grief may be expressed through play.
Children may temporarily regress to a time of safety and security.
Children may struggle to pay attention or stay focused.
A childs quality of work may change for better, or worse.
A child may complain of fatigue and illness more often than usual.-> nightmares may be disrupting their sleep.School attendance may become sporadic.
What you might see in High School An inability to focus or pay attention.Changes in academic performance.Complaints of fatigue and illness.Sporadic school attendance.
a greater volatility of emotions.
there may be an increase in risk taking behaviours in grieving teens.
Grief is not an excuse, it may be the hardest work the student has yet faced in life!
Developing an understanding of death
Through the course of developmental stages and life experiences, children begin to grasp the meaning of death.
Death is permanent
When is Grandma coming back ?
All body functions stop
When someone dies, her body stops working. The heart stops beating, and breathing stops.The brain doesnt send or receive messages. She no longer can see, hear, touch, taste , smell, eat, play, feel or think. She cannot move.When Dinosaurs Die by Brown &Brown
Cause of death Young children may engage in Magical Thinking. She died because I was mad at her
All living things eventually die
Between the ages of 7 to 12, most children are beginning to grasp each of the key components of death
Responding to students
Teachers can help students grow from loss by encouraging their understanding:
that people grieve in their own ways.that help is available and that it is okay to ask for help.
Teachers can encourage students to grow from loss by helping in the development of:clear language and vocabulary to name their feelings .
healthy ways to express feelings.
sensitivity to the needs of others.
Saying and doing the right thingYou do not need to be and you can not be prepared with the right thing to say There is NO right thing to say.
Be a good observer Know the signs of grief for the age and gender of your students.
Be a good listenerListen:for content.for in-between the lines messages.and look for non-verbal clues.
Be flexible Develop accommodations to address :Severe fatigue.Inattention.Confusion.An inability to focus.
Above allbe patientGrief always takes longer than expected.
Be aware of your own feelings
Be honestBe a companion, not an expert.
You dont have to have all the answers.
Considering the guidelinesGreat responses may include:SilenceI dont knowHow can I be helpful?Reflect on the previous slides of general guidelines
Be willingTo be sadMusicMoviesTo be sillyMusicCardsTo be creativeStoriesMusicGamesTo connect
Be aware of cultural diversityYou might want to explore:How do people in this cultural community demonstrate feelings of grief?What things will people in this community be doing to support the family now and in the days /weeks/months ahead?How do we best offer our support to the family/the student? Is it appropriate to: send flowers/letters, visit the home, attend the funeral
You do not need to be a specialist to offer supportGrieving students do not usually require services of a specialist.There is great value in the social support offered by the school community.
Critical Incident Response TeamsMentor teachers to support studentsAfter we responded to a few incidents this school, the teachers were more confident in addressing the needs of the students themselves we became a helpful presence rather than doing it all
Indicators of need for additional supportPersistent denial of the death Physically assaulting others Persistent anger towards everyone Pervasive depression/isolation Prolonged feelings of guilt/responsibility for death Excessive misbehavior Persistent lack of interest in any activity Drug/alcohol use
ActivityChoose a gradeRead the introductionChoose one TASKChoose one Teachable Moment
Your support of a grieving student will change their life!
Acknowledgementsto all educators who provided advice and direction throughout the past decade!
to the grieving students who allowed us to share their journey..
www.curriculum.orgAccessing the document
Feedback sheet, please submitContact information:
**Ontario Funeral Service AssociationOntario Board of Funeral Services**had it not been for the hard work and dedication of teachers I never would have made it to college.
*Generally, children may experience the death of pets and grandparents as their first losses.*violent/sudden/tragic/terrorist/war/conflict
Loss in the school community may be actual deaths or(next slide)*Death observed through curriculum.Death in the curriculum may cause regrief, or vicarious grief, which is grief stimulated by someone elses loss.
EXERCISE What are examples of curriculum content in which children may find the occurrence of death?
Short Presentation:Large group Brainstorm
Half day or full day presentation:Small groups formed of teachers of the same courses or general areas.How might the topic of death be addressed to minimize the impact on the students?Poster paper, and present to the group on a full day presentation.
Examples Language Arts - novels, alternative reading sources such as c