Talking about Death and Bereavement in School: By Ann Chadwick

This book has been written to enhance the work carried out by teachers and assistants to comfort and support children through their experience of loss and grief in situations where a peer or relative or other significant individual (including the school pet) dies.The author looks at aspects of death and loss, which most children will experience in their lives, such as flowers dying at different times and the seasons that help nature to live and die in cyclical form. She explains gently through personal illustration that in the western cultures we have almost attempted to eliminate death from our lives.

This often works against us when death happens, especially when it is unexpected.

She lists the comforting things that adults often say to children or near children which appear to be contradiction in themselves. Hearing people talk about a ‘happy release’ for a grandparent may seem rather callous to a child when they wanted their grannie to stay alive.

The author talks about the different attitudes to death and how children at different ages may react or think about such a topic. She sprinkles examples from first-hand experience through the text which helps clarify her ideas. She talks about the misplaced guilt a child may have when someone or something dies and how that might be avoided. She also talks about multiple loss such as a road traffic collision where pupils and teachers may have died and how the school can best deal with this.

This is a short but significant book. It allows the individual to think about their own experiences of loss over their lives and how they managed each situation and how they were supported in each one. I actually enjoyed reading it.

As in all JKP books there is a comprehensive list of additional relevant publications and help organisations.

Ann Chadwick (2012) Talking about Death and Bereavement in School

JKP

ISBN: 978 – 184905 – 2467

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