Activity 3: What is grief?

Key Questions

Click the arrow to expand each one or click here to expand all of the answers below:

What does it mean when it says, ‘Fox fell asleep forever.’ (The Memory Tree) or ‘Gone down the long tunnel’ (Badger’s Parting Gifts)

Be clear that it means they died. All living things die.

Why do people use different words for dead or died?

Some people find it difficult to talk about death, so they might use different words instead. You might discuss some of these,such as gone, lost or passed away. Very important to explain that sleep is different to death (when we are asleep we are still breathing, heart beating, brain working = alive and asleep). Reassurance - most people are very old when they die. Sometimes people die when they are younger if they have a very serious illness or accident.

What is grief?

Grief is how we respond to a loss, particularly when someone we know has died. It can be very difficult to make sense of a whole range of emotions and feelings. Everyone grieves in their own way, this is because we are all different. There is no ‘right’ way to do it.

Why are memories so important?

Memories help us to remember what the person was like, how they have made a difference in our lives and how they can be a part of us, even when they have died. Sometimes memories will not be so happy, and some memories are difficult, but it is important for us to be able to talk about the person who died and remember them. In the story, did the memories help the animals to think about the friend they knew and loved?

Reflection and Support

Explain to pupils that it might feel upsetting or worrying when they speak about people dying. Remind them of all the people who are available to help them, and who they can talk to if they feel upset or worried.

Pupils create their own special box ‘All about me’ – their family, friends, how old they are, their favourite food, hobbies and interests, any sport they play, teams they support, what makes them special.

For staff – plan something together as part of the debrief. This could be a walk and talk or tea and cake after school, or at lunchtime. Signpost to support and check in with each other.