Strategies for supporting grieving students

Module Introduction

“I wanted to somehow help and support him. Although he acted very stoic and made it clear he didn’t want to talk about it,, it was obvious to me how much he was really hurting”. – Teacher quoteA life-limiting illness or death within a family has significant but often underestimated effects on the children. As an educator, you are well positioned to provide grief support to your students and to take note of behavioural or other changes that may be related to grief, which may otherwise go unrecognized. In order to effectively support a grieving student, your school needs to establish two-way communication with the student’s family.

By completing this module, you will:

  • Learn some tips and strategies when communicating and collaborating with a grieving student and their family including what to do when they are reluctant to share information.
  • Learn how to initiate contact with the family.
  • Explore some strategies for making a communication plan with both the family and the student.
  • Gain an understanding of circumstances to consider immediately after a death such as cultural considerations and student needs upon their return to school as well as the importance of your sensitivity and approach.
  • Examine various strategies for working with your student and the family after the death.
  • Gain an awareness of various factors to consider in the long term and discover strategies to support your student.
  • Be introduced to some activities as a way to support grieving students express their grief in creative ways and/or help them cope with their stress.