Helping Students Grieve

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With the right training and supports, educators can go with students into the tender places of loss and grief—and help them heal.


The 3rd graders were reading Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. The students found much in common with the book's protagonist, Opal, whose mother left the family when Opal was three years old. In a carefully facilitated discussion, one student quietly told her teacher and classmates, "My mama left me, too." The sadness in this comment, and the teacher's ability to make a space in the classroom for speaking about loss, sparked a flood of stories from other students who spoke about the death of parents, siblings, or grandparents; experiences of divorce and separation; the car accident that took the life of a beloved pet; having a best friend move away.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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