I received some devastating news this week. A child I knew passed away. He was in kindergarten. His death is beyond my comprehension-- he was so young and full of life. For being such a small child, he made a huge impact on his community. He was loved by many and will be missed by the children and families whose lives he touched.
Death is hard enough for us to understand as adults, especially when it occurs suddenly -- how can we possibly explain it to young children? NAEYC offers a list of resources for teachers and parents which address how to discuss death with children. Kids Health also offers some good, basic advice on their website about helping kids deal with death. We need to make kids feel safe and protected, but we also need to talk to them and help them process death in a way that is approachable to them.
I'm sorry this isn't an uplifting post, but it's been weighing heavily on my heart today. I hope you don't have to talk about death with your children or students anytime soon, but if you do, there are some good resources out there to support you. And as I've said before, remember to look out for yourself. Grown-ups need to grieve too.