Supporting Bereaved Children
In conjunction with Nelsons Journey, we have developed a range of training courses aimed at empowering professionals to support bereaved children at school.
The Bereaved Child in School
As a teacher or member of staff within a school community it is inevitable that you will work with children affected by death in one way or another. The immediacy and enormity of these experiences may vary, but in each situation, you have a genuine chance to positively affect a young life.
Children are often referred to as the ‘forgotten mourners’ because adults use euphemisms to explain death and think children are adaptable and will soon ‘get over it’ or ‘are too young to understand’ or ‘too young to go to the funeral’.
It is easy to exclude a young person from one of their major life events with all the good intentions of wanting to protect them from the pain of bereavement. Experience has shown that young people can work through their grief if they are able to talk about their bereavement, ask questions, express their feelings and have their fears and concerns validated.
‘How can I learn to read when my head is so full of Daddy?!’ This is how one seven year old boy explained his lack of concentration to his teacher following the sudden death of his father. Bereaved children can react in many different ways. The normally placid child who becomes aggressive and lashes out at others is easy to identify, but experience has shown that the child who is apparently unaffected by death, completes their work on time and shows themselves to be a ‘model pupil’ and “obviously over her mother’s death” could be finding the bereavement equally difficult to cope with. By adopting the strategy of being exceptionally well behaved, the child could be thinking that “if I can be good, maybe mummy will come back and it will all be better”.
Research has shown that bereaved children tend to suffer more from ailments such as tummy ache, feeling sick or headaches than children who are not bereaved. It is also a fact that many suffer from a lack of concentration, tiredness, worry about surviving family members and simply have ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’. Therefore, it could be argued that bereaved children could have ‘special educational needs’ and as such deserve support to enable them to understand and cope with their bereavement and thus allow them to continue their education in a purposeful way. To provide the opportunity to talk about the dead person, express their feelings and have their major life-event recognised may be all that schools have to do to allow this process to happen.
How can Rosedale Training help you address this need?
In conjunction with Nelsons Journey, we have developed a range of training courses aimed at empowering professionals to support bereaved children at school. With generous sponsorship from Rosedale Funeral Home we are able to deliver these courses with the help of Nelson’s Journey in Norfolk and Nature and Nurture Therapeutic Services in Suffolk
There is a choice of courses, ranging from a 1 hour’s twilight session to a full day (and even whole school PD day) training.
1 hour session
Following swift introductions, we will share some illuminating statistics around outcomes for bereaved children. We will share with you some of the effects of and challenges around bereavement and talk about how you can offer support. We will leave you with plenty of resources and information and will have time for a brief Q & A session.
2-hour session (aims obs as above)
Following brief introductions, we will share and discuss some illuminating statistics around outcomes for bereaved children. We will watch a short DVD followed by a facilitated discussion and give examples of bereavement work and share with you some of the effects of and challenges around bereavement. You will have the opportunity to participate in making a memory jar, a helpful therapeutic activity to share with a bereaved child. We will talk about the many ways in which you can offer support and will leave you with plenty of resources and information and hold a brief Q & A session.
Full day training (aims and obs as above)
Following introductions and the setting of ground rules, we will share and discuss some illuminating statistics around outcomes for bereaved children. There will be opportunities for group work including a discussion around ‘other kinds of loss’ and to work on some in depth case studies, feeding back to the wider group. After a break for lunch, we will watch a DVD followed by a facilitated discussion and give examples of bereavement work and share with you some of the effects of and challenges around bereavement. There will be opportunities to ask questions and share ideas throughout the day. You will have the opportunity to participate in one of two therapeutic activities, either spiders or making a memory jar, that you could take away and share with a bereaved child. We will talk about the many ways in which you can offer support and in small groups will consider the impact on your school and explore what you might need to consider in your school policies. We will then feedback to the wider group again and following a final Q & A session and a closing exercise will leave you with plenty of resources and information.
After the loss of someone very special
‘After the loss of someone very special’ is a complimentary booklet that we provide for bereaved families. It provides practical advice on supporting someone who is bereaved as well as listing lots of useful books, DVDs and other organisations that may be of support to someone whose loved one has died.
If you would like any copies of this booklet in your school, please do not hesitate to ask. For more information on how to support bereaved children or to request bereavement resources for your school visit the Rosedale Funeral Home site.
What is our connection with Nelson's Journey?
Nelsons Journey’s vision is that every bereaved child in Norfolk will look forward to a positive future, empowered to reach their full potential.
This ambition is perhaps best summarised by their strap line: bringing back smiles.
As a founding Funeral Director of Rosedale Funeral Home and a Trustee of Nelsons Journey, Anne Beckett-Allen is passionate about supporting bereaved children and loves working with Nelson’s Journey to provide training to school teachers and other professionals.
We got involved with Nelsons Journey as soon as Rosedale was formed, back in 2004 when Nelsons Journey attended our very first open day to promote the work of Nelsons Journey.
We got more involved when we wanted to develop some training for schools teachers and that was the start of a great partnership and since then, working together we have trained around 350 teachers, class room assistants, members of the clergy, health visitors and foster carers to support bereaved children.
Anne has been a trustee of Nelsons Journey for a few years now and during that time has also been trained to deliver talks and to volunteer on the residential weekends. also volunteer at the NJ clubs in Diss.
“At Rosedale we run bereavement support groups for adults and I often see the parents in our group and then the bereaved children in the Nelsons Journey groups and it makes me feel proud that everyone in the family is getting the support that they need.”
We have also provided around 50 memory bears for the child bereavement support workers to provide to bereaved children and have donated a model church that can be used by the bereavement support workers to explain to children what happens at a funeral.
Through our day-to-day work we come across so many families in desperate need of help and support and before Nelsons Journey, there was nowhere to refer them. It is a natural partnership and we hope to encourage other funeral directors to strengthen their links too and support this amazing charity.
Funeral Directors Awareness evenings
The objective of the night is to inform local Funeral Directors about the work of Nelson’s Journey so that they understand the relevance of our work with bereaved children and can signpost families to us. We also hope to inspire them to want to support and fundraise for Nelson’s Journey in the future, perhaps by becoming a ‘Friend of Nelson’s Journey’.
Schedule for the evening:
6:00pm Canapes on arrival, time for networking and to view exhibitors
6:30pm Welcome by Simon Wright, Chief Executive of Nelson’s Journey
Between 6:45pm and 7:45pm we split the group into smaller groups, making it more manageable for them to see and learn more in their smaller groups.
Tour of Smiles House
Tour of the downstairs at Smiles House including the model church and funeral scene as donated by Rosedale Funeral Home
Meet Nelson’s Journey staff members and an ex-service user of Nelson’s Journey, now a young volunteer.
Child Bereavement Support Worker to speak about the work of Nelson’s Journey, and his/her role in working with the children we support.
Previous service user to speak about his /her experience with Nelson’s Journey and why he/she now gives something back in the form of being a young volunteer.
Carol Bundock to speak about her experience with Nelson’s Journey and why she supports Nelson’s Journey as a patron.
Anne Beckett-Allen from Rosedale Funeral Home introduces the ‘Friends of Nelsons Journey’ scheme. Shayne Stork from John Brown Funerals talks about his support of the charity, and GreenAcres Woodland Burial Grounds representative talks about their work with Nelson’s Journey.
7:45pm Fork buffet to be served, networking and time for people to look at the bereavement resources and ask questions
8:30pm Guests to depart with goodie bags with more information, literature and a certificate in, so everyone will take something away from their time here.
This evening usually takes place a couple of times a year and is always fully subscribed with a waiting list. If you would like to express an early interest and reserve a place for next time, please email Gena@nelsonsjourney.org.uk