At the start of Children’s Grief Awareness Week, Barnardo’s is releasing resources for teachers to help children cope with bereavement.
Before Covid-19, official stats showed one in 29 five-16 year olds had been bereaved of a parent or sibling – that’s at least one child in every average class.
With more than 165,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the UK (deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate), Barnardo’s says many more children and young people will be experiencing bereavement.
Black people and men of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage are almost twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as White people, meaning children from these communities are more likely to experience loss.
The free resources about grief are available on the Barnardo’s Education Community (BEC) website (https://www.educators-barnardos.org.uk/).
They include an introductory worksheet which explores what grief is and a volcano-making activity that focuses on how grief impacts us.
They also include some suggestions and advice about how to cope and who children can talk to when going back to school after someone special has died.
Also in the resources are some coping techniques teachers can tell children about to use when times are difficult, exercises to help ground children and regulate their breathing.
The resources will also be posted throughout Children’s Grief Awareness Week (November 18 to 24) on the Barnardo’s Education Community Twitter page (@BarnardosEduCom).
Barnardo’s Interim Co-CEO Michelle Lee-Izu said:
Sadly the raw feelings of grief and loss will be familiar to thousands of children and families across the UK, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Children have suffered a huge amount of loss in the last year. For most this has meant missing out on school and playing with their friends, but for too many children it has meant the loss of parents, grandparents and members of their family or community.
I hope that teachers who are discussing the issue of grief with their pupils during Children’s Grief Awareness Week will find our tips and resources useful – and that they will be used to assist schools and colleges to support children who are struggling in the future.
Written By: Robert Fisk