Special Occasions in the Classroom

Click Image to Download Factsheet

Special occasions & bereaved children in primary school

There are many special occasions that happen every year for a bereaved child – anniversary of the death, birthdays, Christmas… For some bereaved children, these occasions can evoke very strong feelings of loss and grief. Teachers should also be mindful of other children in the class who may also have difficulties marking special occasions for a variety of reasons.

Teachers differentiate lesson plans all the time for children to include children of different abilities, learning styles, and prior experience. On special occasions, teaching needs to be differentiated so every child can feel included and the activity they engage in is meaningful and safe for each child.

It really helps if the teacher consults with children in advance, particularly children whose parent is no longer with them, about how they would like to participate. It is important to respect their choices. Some children depending on circumstances may choose to:

  • Draw or write about a memory.
  • Draw a card with a message for a Memory Box/Book.
  • Write/draw/paint a funny memory of a special person, such as a time you laughed together.
  • Draw or write a message for someone who is caring for them now.
  • They may suggest their own way to participate.

Don’t ignore the occasion. Acknowledging that special occasions for be difficult for some children empowers and supports those children in a very special way.

Wish everyone well on the day whatever they do!