Friday, January 18, 2013

Guest Post: Helping Children with Grief

My daughter who is finishing up her degree in Elementary Education offered up this as a Guest Post. I hope she gets an A+ on this class assignment, and I know she'll be a great teacher.

Here's an interesting assignment I had to do for one of my classes.  I had to write a letter to the "parents" of my "students" in response to a tragic incident such as Newtown. You can blog about it...

Dear Parents,
            After the tragic event that has taken place at our school, I wish to reassure you of your concerns and worries.  As your child’s teacher, it has been my duty and continues to be my duty to maintain a safe classroom environment for your child.  I am aware of our school’s emergency preparedness procedure and I am ready to act upon it when necessary.  I promise to do my best to keep your child safe.
I’m aware of the concerns of you and your child.  Over the next few days and weeks, we will be working on some service projects to help your child cope with the emotions they are dealing with.  Your child needs to express his/her grief and I will help by providing  opportunities through art, music, dance, writing, and other forms of expression to express his/her grief.  I will also have the school counselor visiting our classroom to teach your child other coping techniques.
While I am willing to answer your child’s questions simply and honestly, I encourage you to be available to answer any questions your child may have.  I encourage you not to overload them with information, as they may have little interest in the event.  Answer their questions simply and honestly.  I also encourage you to limit your child’s TV exposure to the event. 
Try to maintain your daily routines as much as possible.  Life goes on, and it is important for you and your child to do the same.  Help your child express his/her grief through art, music, and/or play.  Comfort your child and provide frequent reassurance that they’re safe. 
Please let me know of any other concerns you have and we can work together to help your child.  I want your child to feel safe and comfortable in my classroom.  You are welcome to come into the classroom anytime to help or volunteer in anyway.

Here are some resources with additional information to help you help your child cope:

While not a school shooting experience, this brings back some harsh memories of my early years when another first-grade boy on his bike was killed in a traffic accident. I didn't even know the boy, but it happened near the home of one of my mom's friends. I recall that woman pointing out the spot and describing the accident in rather lurid detail on more than one occasion. I'm sure she meant well as a warning to be careful, but I was somewhat traumatized every time I went past that corner for years. Even now, this fresh reminder popping in my head is not a comfortable thought. I recommend these resources above to parents and teachers dealing with childhood tragedies.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!