Chapter 2: Preparing for a student’s death


What the grief expert says
Camara van Breemen, nurse practitioner, talks about supporting a child with a serious illness in the classroom.(3:22)Video transcript
What the educator says
Shane Dilka, resource/learning support teacher, talks about working closely with the family of an ill child and the school community.(3:22)
Shane Dilka, resource/learning support teacher, talks about the importance of open communication.(3:22)Video transcript

“Given the young age of the students in my class, many of the parents were really struggling with how to talk to their kids about their classmate’s illness and the fact that she would die. I encouraged parents to be honest with their children about what was happening, just as we were doing in class, and it also helped to have some resources tailored to this age group for parents”. – Kindergarten teacher 

Communicating with the ill student and family

Click on each of the boxes below for information about communicating with the ill student and family.



See also:For additional information and communication tips, see Chapter 1 – Communication strategies in Module 2 – Supporting Grieving Students.

Communicating with other parents

Keeping the parents of your other students informed about classroom discussions as well as providing information about the specific illness and changes in the ill student’s condition will help you (and the parents) support the students together. 

Roll your mouse over each of the boxes below to see what the benefits are for your students.

View Benefit #1




Help parents prepare for their discussions with their children about death and dying.


View Benefit #2




Information that is specific to the ill student can be shared in accordance with their wishes and those of their family.


View Benefit #3




Help parents prepare for the questions their children may ask.


View Benefit #4




Is an opportunity for you to provide useful information about the illness, death and grief, as well as resources.



See also:How Children Grieve