Connecting With Families
“Kindergarten is when Quentin’s father was ill. One of his teachers was just so supportive. She would text me during the day to let me know how Quentin was doing. It was an extra thing for her to take care, but it was just so supportive and helpful.” (Parent)
This module addresses the importance of proactively reaching out to families of grieving students. Educators can provide information, gain insights from the family about how the student is coping, and partner with parents/guardians to provide support over time. When a student is experiencing grief, ongoing communication between school and family becomes especially critical. Partnering in this way can help parents take steps to support their children’s learning and participation in school even during the difficult process of grieving.
Immediately after a death, school personnel can reach out to families to express condolences on behalf of the school community. Parents are often overwhelmed in their own experience of grief. They may not fully realize the scope of their children’s concerns. Children may worry about how the parents are coping, who else might die, what will happen to the family, who will care for younger siblings and more. They may hide their own distress from parents to avoid burdening them further.
Educators can offer guidance on how to support grieving children. They can remind parents/guardians of their crucial role in supporting their children at this time. School personnel can assist in planning for a student’s transition back to school. They can seek feedback from parents on how the children are doing, point families to resources in school and community, and partner with families to support children over time.