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St Swithun's Church of England Primary Academy

Valuing individuals, aspiring and achieving together in faith

Loss & Bereavement

Loss could be losing a family member or the loss of a friendship group because of moving schools. Grieving is hard for everyone and it is usually a natural period of significant upset that changes over time.

It is common to experience the following things when you are grieving.

  •  Feeling numb or being in denial
  • Being anxious and worried
  • Feeling helpless and hopeless
  • Anger
  • Sadness and tearfulness

Some people talk about stages of grief (which is when you experience these things at different times), but people react differently to loss. Grief is all about adjusting to life without the person or thing that you have lost. People’s reaction to loss is often expressed in a change of behaviour, especially if they are younger.

A person’s age has a big impact on their understanding of death, grief and loss:

  • Infants have no real concept of death but they will react to some loss e.g. separation from parents can be interpreted as permanent loss of that parent.
  • Toddlers have no real concept of death being a permanent condition, but they will easily pick up on anxiety and distress from the emotions of those around them.
  • Preschool children begin to learn that death is something feared by adults. This age group may view death as temporary or reversible, like it often is in cartoons.
  • School-age children are developing a more realistic understanding of death. Death may be represented as an angel, skeleton, or ghost. This age group is beginning to understand death as permanent, universal, and inevitable. They may be very curious about the process.


Some links  to sites which could offer support and guidance during a difficult time.

Bereavement and Loss Guidance and Support for Schools

The Heart and The Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

A touching, beautifully illustrated story about a little girl who is filled with curiosity and the wonder all around her until something happens that causes ...

British Heart Foundation - The Small Creature, an animated story to help bereaved children young children lose someone close to them, it can be so difficult to tell how they are de...

I Will Always Love You ~ Children's Book About Death and Grieving

Kids Books about death and grieving: I Will Always Love You read aloud for children. Losing someone you love is heartbreaking, but explaining grief to childr...