Teaching End-of-Life Issues in the Classroom
For many people death can be a difficult topic to discuss. The challenge
for educators is to provide children with a variety of strategies that
allow them to discuss openly the issues surrounding death and dying. To
do so effectively requires sensitivity, courage, and the creation of a
classroom climate where children feel comfortable discussing their feelings.
These lessons were created to provide teachers with multiple entry points
for dealing with children's experiences of death, dying and the afterlife.
The following lessons will be useful in helping children
deal with the death or illness of a family member, friend, or pet, as
well as media-reported deaths, including those of public figures and victims
of mass tragedies.
"Understanding the Cyclical Nature of Life"
of these lessons is to develop understandings of different conceptions
of the afterlife. This will be done through stories and poetry, examining
the ways things in the natural world die or change form, and exploring
afterlife myths and burial customs from a variety of different cultures.
"Exploring Different Cultural Attitudes Toward Death"
purpose of these lessons is to develop students' understanding of their
personal concepts of the afterlife, as well as those of different cultures.
This will be done through researching different cultures' funeral customs,
reading a poem, and exploring afterlife myths from a variety of cultures.
In this guide you'll also find some tips and strategies for using "With
Eyes Open"--the program in your classroom. Teachers may tape "With Eyes
Open" and use the videotape for educational purposes for up to ten days
after the broadcast. To purchase the tape, visit Films for the Humanities
& Sciences at www.films.com or call: 1 (800) 257-5126.
For Ideas for Parents, click here.
Suggestions on how to use books to create a comfortable setting in which
to initiate conversations with your entire family.
Recommended Books, Movies, and Websites