Hospice offers bereavement training to primary schools to help grieving students

DERBYSHIRE’s charity, Treetops Hospice, offers local primary schools training and advice on how to support bereaved pupils.

The training helps teachers and school support staff to better understand how children aged 5 to 11 deal with death, how to recognize common reactions to bereavement and how to support children when a loved one dies.

Jules Kirk, Treetops Therapeutic Services Manager and Children’s Services Manager, explained in more detail:

“We know how difficult the last eighteen months have been for the younger generation. Isolation and coming out of isolation, the absence of family and friends and the inability to say goodbye at funerals all had a detrimental effect on how children and young people coped after the death of a loved one.

“Schools are also seeing these effects in their students and want to do more to help as a first line of support, so we’ve introduced this new training to tackle it head-on.”

All children react to death and understand it in their own way, explains Jules.

“How a child experiences grief depends on many factors, not just their age. Their reactions can be affected by their cognitive ability, emotional literacy, broader family and social dynamics, and culture and beliefs.

“In our training, we explain what children think about death at different ages. Young children have a limited sense of time, for example, they often view death as a temporary absence of that loved one. Older children understand that death is irreversible, but sometimes believe that the deceased person can still see or hear them.

“We train staff to recognize these reactions in their students and give them the skills and confidence to help children safely and appropriately. We also suggest ways the wider school can help, such as policies a school can benefit from. »

One of the first schools to sign up for the training is Lanes School in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Elaine Allcoat, Principal Teaching Assistant, explained why he is invaluable:

“Schools play an important role in the life of every child and support key events that affect their lives.

“Supporting students after any trauma, including bereavement, is an essential part of our work. We don’t want to be wrong because it’s so important. The training really gave us confidence and guided us in how to approach these difficult situations.

“Treetops staff helped make it easier to talk about a difficult topic and the whole session was interactive and personal. We recommend other schools take this opportunity.

Treetops grief training is available at primary schools in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Schools interested in finding out more should contact Treetops’ counseling and emotional support team on 0115 949 6944 or email [email protected] Further information is also available on the Treetops website: www.treetops.org.uk

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