Friday, November 22, 2013

Children's Grief Awareness Day

Thursday, November 21st was Children's Grief Awareness Day. The purpose of this day is to support all children who have lost a loved one, and remind others that children experience grief, too. This could be grief for a lost parent, grandparent, sibling, cousin, pet, etc. Children's Grief Awareness Day is purposely set during the holiday season, as this is often a more difficult time for those who have lost loved ones.

Many of the school counselors in my district wanted to acknowledge this day and remind our students that we support them! To do so, we asked all students and staff to wear BLUE on Thursday in honor of a loved one they have lost or in support of a friend who has lost someone. We also provided students and staff with the opportunity to decorate butterflies (the symbol of Children's Grief Awareness) with a memory of someone they have lost. I also spent some time visiting a few classrooms to share the book Chester the Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories, by Audrey Penn (author of The Kissing Hand). This sweet story brings the topic onto the level of younger students by encouraging them to cherish memories of loved ones lost. Students also love the Chester books, which is a plus! The "Memory Walls" from all three of my elementary schools can be seen below:

(^ For my smallest school, I took time to die-cut butterflies and acorns to accompany the Chester story).

Our efforts for Children's Grief Awareness Day even made the local newspaper! I hope that students realize that not only their school counselors, but also their teachers and peers, support them during times of grief.  I have already begun brainstorming ideas for next year! How do you support grieving students? 

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