Learning Activity

A Practical Intergenerational Approach to Death and Dying

This resource was created by Helene Block Fields, Professor Emeritus Early Childhood Education, Intergenerational pioneer and Grandparenting specialist.

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Research and materials from Death Education have been available for decades, but are not used enough. Very few existing curricula include ways to include death and dying in their courses or lesson plans.

Young children already understand a great deal about death and loss—they know that flowers, bugs and pets die, but if nobody ever says out loud that “Grandma died”, instead of saying “Grandma passed away,” then children sense that it’s not good to use these words or talk about it.  A Language Chart is included in this handout providing excellent advice on ways to use direct, meaningful words.

Also included is an important Hospice Guideline which beautifully describes children’s developmental stages from 0 to age 18 and suggests ways to help them in each stage.  Exact ages aren’t as important as the stages all children must go through to finally accept death, dying and grieving as normal experiences in life.