Grief at School

American Hospice Foundation created a model Grief at School training curriculum that has been used by more than 3,500 schools and was endorsed by the national associations of school counselors, school psychologists and social workers. As part of their community service mission, many hospices have used this curriculum to train school staff to address the needs of grieving students and discuss grief and loss in the classroom.

Failure to address the needs of grieving children can have short-term effects on their school performance and serious consequences later in life.  Schools can play a vital role in helping their pupils come to terms with losses and preparing them for life’s inevitable tragedies.  Teachers, counselors, and other school personnel have considerable influence in the lives of students, especially for those for whom school assumes the importance of family.  Children often look to their teachers and counselors when they need help in overcoming problems that are difficult to discuss at home.

By introducing classroom lessons about grief and loss, and responding appropriately when a child has suffered a loss, school personnel can encourage open discussions and enable students to develop healthy coping skills.

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