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Dealing with death in the classroom

Discussion in 'Primary' started by dancingkangaroo, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. I know there are lots of posts already about dealing with the death of a pupil's parent, or a pupil.
    I have recently found out that the father of a child in my class has died.
    My biggest concern is actually how to tell the rest of the class why he is off. I don't want to instill panic amongst the other children.
    I also have many children who come from single parent homes, and some who are pretty streetwise. I'm a bit worried that there might not be sympathy from all the kids.
    Please help - any advice would be great.
     
  2. I know there are lots of posts already about dealing with the death of a pupil's parent, or a pupil.
    I have recently found out that the father of a child in my class has died.
    My biggest concern is actually how to tell the rest of the class why he is off. I don't want to instill panic amongst the other children.
    I also have many children who come from single parent homes, and some who are pretty streetwise. I'm a bit worried that there might not be sympathy from all the kids.
    Please help - any advice would be great.
     
  3. Why do you need to tell your class why he is off?
    Have you spoken to anybody about this in school to get advice and support. I think it is a little naive to assume that streetwise or single parent children will have no sympathy for a bereavement.
    Depending on the age and situation there will be different ways to approach the subject.
     
  4. I had a child in my class whose father committed suicide, the child didn't know that's why he'd died. Nothing was said to the class in general but most children knew as it was a village school. We just made sure that the child was looked after carefully, had time to talk (time was allocated for this) and had friends around who were aware that care was needed. It worked fine but was a very sad time.
     
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Talk to senior staff at your school. This is unlikely to be the very first time this has happened and there is possibly a procedure to follow. Even if not, the senior staff are there to help and advise you and know your children more than we do.

    Some children and families like the class to know and some do not, so do check before you say. To be honest, many children are likely to know already.

    All you need to do really is provide compassion and friendship and ensure your class are kind.
     

  6. I'm not assuming that just because they are streetwise or single parent families. I'm saying that because I know what the kids can be like sometimes. Some of them will react in a 'hard' way to stop showing that something upsets them.
    I don't want the boy to return to school to have everyone asking why he was off. They are 7 and 8. Have tried speaking to head, but not much advice coming from there.

    I just want to do best for the kids.
    Thanks for advice so far.
     
  7. I had this happen in my class many years ago now. The father died very suddenly and unexpectedly. While the child in my class was off I had a chat (nowadays it would probably be a circle time!) about why the boy was off and what had happened. I explained as simply what had happened and we discussed how the boy might be feeling, and what could help him when he returned - including not asking him too many questions etc. It worked very well and the childre (y5) were lovely and caring to him when he returned.
    He stood and spoke at his Father's funeral and it was a moving thing.
    Something that also helped was that he was able to access councelling and someone came in every few weeks to speak to him. Ask your HT whether your county has a similar service that you can access, or encourage the Mum to approach their G.P to see if it can happen that way if not available through school.

     

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