Helping the Healing: Tips for Teachers After the Columbia Tragedy
As NASA investigators struggle to find answers for the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts on February 1, teachers also search for answers to students questions about the tragedy. Education World has compiled a list of resources for teachers at all grade levels to help their students comprehend and cope with this sad event. Included: Resources for helping students discuss, understand, and cope with grief associated with a tragedy.
Once again, Americas teachers are called upon to help their students understand and process a national tragedy. The loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts February 1, just 16 minutes before it was due to land, turned a quiet Saturday into a day of mourning, and filled it with unanswered questions. Education World has collected numerous resources to help students discuss the tragedy, and deal with any sadness they may be experiencing.
HELPING STUDENTS COPE AND UNDERSTAND:
- Schools Try to Cope with Shuttle Disaster
An article about how some teachers and schools dealt with the tragedy when students returned to school February 3.
- About Our Kids
This Web site includes resources such as a school manual with practical steps for
Coping with Trauma
- National Association of School Psychologists Crisis Resources
These resources from the National Association of School Psychologists includes Crisis and Loss: Information for Educators.
- Disaster: Helping Children Cope
This is another handout for parents from the National Association of School Psychologists.
- Tips for Talking About Disasters
This Web page from the Center for Mental Health Services includes resources such as How to Help Children After a Disaster, After a Disaster: What Teens Can Do, and After a Disaster: A Guide for Parents and Teachers.
- Helping Our Children in Difficult Times
PBS offers this tip sheet for parents and teachers. The printable sheet (Adobe Acrobat required) features Arthur, the popular children's book character.
- Talking to Children About Violence and Other Sensitive and Complex Issues in the World
These tips are adapted from A Discussion Guide for Parents and Educators, published by Educators for Social Responsibility.
- Helping Children Deal With Scary News -- Thoughts from Fred Rogers
These tips are from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and PBS.
- Talking About Tough Topics
Parent Soup answers questions about how parents and other adults can talk with kids about tough topics.
- Talking with Kids About Tough Issues
Talking with Kids About Tough Issues, a national initiative by Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation, has teamed with Nickelodeon in a national program to encourage parents to communicate with kids about tough issues. The site includes tips on
Talking with Kids about the News, booklets for parents in both English and Spanish, and an organizer's toolkit for bringing the "Talking With Kids" initiative to your school.
- Crisis Intervention Manual
How do children of different ages process death? This resource from The School Psychologists' Home Page offers a guide to children's reactions. This resource also includes a poem, "The Elephant in the Room," about the difficulty of talking about death; tips for being a supportive adult; and a tip sheet that can be sent home to parents to help them talk with their children about death.
- Helping Children Cope: A Guide To Helping Children Cope with the Stress of the Oklahoma City Explosion
The American Psychological Association Online offers guidelines to help parents and teachers recognize and deal with trauma in children.
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters
Tips for helping children and adolescents respond to trauma and crisis from the National Institute of Mental Health.
- Helping Students Deal With Violence
This up-to-date list of resources comes from MidLink Magazine.
- Helping Children and Adolescents After a Disaster
A resource from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
- How to Help Children After a Disaster: A Teacher's Guidebook
This is a resource from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Helping Children Cope With Tragedy
This comprehensive resource from the National PTA includes information for parents and teachers. The site includes tips for using the events to teach about the dangers of prejudice. It also includes guidelines for organizing community discussion forums.
- Discussing the News with 3- to 7-Year-Olds: What to Do?
This resource from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) was written by Sydney Gurewitz Clemens, a specialist in early childhood education.
- Death: A Personal Understanding
This ten-program series on death and dying includes two programs that can be of immediate use to teachers and administrators: "Sudden Death" and "A Child's View of Death." "Sudden Death" has a special focus on unexpected disaster through terrorism and uses the Oklahoma City bombing to show how we can helpfully respond to traumatic grief. "A Child's View of Death" focuses on how children handle the deaths of those close to them, their own sense of mortality, and how adults can support children.
- Provide Space for Children to Express Feelings and Build Community
Links to resources to help children cope after a traumatic event.
- All Kids Grieve
Among the online resources included here are sections on children's literature related to grief, using poetry to promote healing and personal growth, and a Kids Art & Poetry Exhibit.
- When Tragedy Strikes: What Schools Should Do
Tragedies happen. Children and parents die. Teens commit suicide. Teachers must face their students after the unthinkable happens. Education World talks to educators and psychologists who have helped students and teachers deal with death, suicide, and murder. Included: Tips for teachers and administrators for handling the death of a student.
Ellen R. Delisio
Copyright © 2003 Education World