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Loss Grief and Growth Education Resource Workshop for teachers.

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Presentation on theme: "Loss Grief and Growth Education Resource Workshop for teachers."— Presentation transcript:

1 Loss Grief and Growth Education Resource Workshop for teachers

2 Developed with sponsorship from:

3 Death neither obeys the school timetable nor appears on it... it enters the classroom without knocking.

4 The story... Yves Berthiaume – story of his father dying when he was 12 and the teachers who supported and mentored him

5 We need to address the needs of kids Yves Berthiume Developed tours of the funeral homes

6 The most frequent question from teachers… How do I support grieving students?


8 Written by teachers for teachers

9 Loss Grief and Growth honors the relationship between students and teachers.

10 Teachers are connected with students: before, during and after the loss occurs. when some have forgotten the needs of a grieving child.

11 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.

12 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

13 Introduction

14 One of the myths of our society is that it is possible to insulate children from the traumas of loss, death, bereavement, and grief.

15 Loss is a part of life….

16 Divorce Moving Developmental And out kids are exposed to death Types of losses

17 Death in the family grandparents, parents, siblings, pets, friends …

18 Death in the media News - global community violent/sudden/tragic/terrorist/war/conflict Movies, games –fictional/unreal

19 Death in the school community People peers teachers, support staff custodial staff family members of peers

20 and school curriculum.

21 Death in the community Not 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

22 Grief is a normal healthy response to loss. is a whole person response.

23 Drawing grief

24 Grieving is the process of integrating the loss into ones life and making meaning of lifes experiences.

25 Grieving is not something to get over is not something that needs to be fixed

26 New losses can trigger old losses. we regrieve at future levels of growth, development, and future life events. Grieving

27 Misconceptions about grieving There is a right way to grieve There are stages of grief Grief is/should be time limited –It is time to get over this –When will she get over this?

28 Factors which influence grieving

29 The age and stage of development

30 Family

31 Social Support System

32 Personality traits

33 Gender

34 Grieving styles

35 Intuitive grieving style… The typical grief response e.g. crying, talking. Sadness is the primary emotion. Grief is processed through feelings.

36 Recognition of the loss the grief and the griever Disenfranchised grief

37 Instrumental Grieving Style Little talk, lots of action.. Grief is processed cognitively rather than emotionally. If expressed, an emotion is more likely to be anger than sadness.

38 Type and nature of death

39 Cause of death

40 Cultural and Religious Beliefs

41 What you might see…

42 In Elementary and Middle School : Children grieve in doses. Grief may be expressed through play.

43 Children may temporarily regress to a time of safety and security.

44 Children may struggle to pay attention or stay focused.

45 A childs quality of work may change for better, or worse.

46 A child may complain of fatigue and illness more often than usual. -> nightmares may be disrupting their sleep. School attendance may become sporadic.

47 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.

48 a greater volatility of emotions. there may be an increase in risk taking behaviours in grieving teens.

49 Grief is not an excuse, it may be the hardest work the student has yet faced in life!

50 Developing an understanding of death Through the course of developmental stages and life experiences, children begin to grasp the meaning of death.

51 Death is permanent When is Grandma coming back ?

52 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

53 Cause of death Young children may engage in Magical Thinking. She died because I was mad at her

54 All living things eventually die

55 Between the ages of 7 to 12, most children are beginning to grasp each of the key components of death

56 Responding to students…

57 Teachers can:

58 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.

59 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.

60 Saying and doing the right thing You do not need to be and you can not be prepared with the right thing to say There is NO right thing to say.

61 General Guidelines

62 Be a good observer Know the signs of grief for the age and gender of your students.

63 Be a good listener Listen: for content. for in-between the lines messages. and look for non- verbal clues.

64 Be flexible Develop accommodations to address : Severe fatigue. Inattention. Confusion. An inability to focus.

65 Be available

66 Above all…be patient Grief always takes longer than expected.

67 Be aware of your own feelings

68 Be honest Be a companion, not an expert. You dont have to have all the answers.

69 Considering the guidelines Great responses may include: –Silence –I dont know –How can I be helpful? –Reflect on the previous slides of general guidelines

70 Be willing To be sad –Music –Movies To be silly –Music –Cards To be creative –Stories –Music –Games To connect

71 Be aware of cultural diversity You 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…

72 You do not need to be a specialist to offer support Grieving students do not usually require services of a specialist. There is great value in the social support offered by the school community.

73 Critical Incident Response Teams Mentor teachers to support students –After 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

74 Indicators of need for additional support Persistent 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

75 Activity Choose a grade Read the introduction Choose one TASK Choose one Teachable Moment

76 Your support of a grieving student will change their life!

77 Resources

78 Acknowledgements …to all educators who provided advice and direction throughout the past decade!

79 …to the grieving students who allowed us to share their journey…..

80 …and especially:

81 Accessing the document






87 Thank you! Feedback sheet, please submit Contact information:

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