Grief in my Backpack

Grief in my Backpack

We are excited to share with you that we are in the process of developing a new and more extensive school resource which will replace our Good Grief: Supporting the Grieving Student publication.

This new resource will include, information about grief and how it shows up; how to support grieving students; creating compassionate classrooms; and some suggestions of protocols and processes to respond to news of illness or death in the school. It will feature stories through images, writing, videos, etc. The Grief in my Backpack will be an online resource. We will also have a printed quick reference guide available.

In March 2021, we sought your input as to what you needed and wished for to better support grieving students. These surveys were sent to school personnel in different school districts in Alberta. We are pleased to report that 63 of you responded to our survey and took the time to write comments to give us more information. Thank you!

… And the survey said…

78% of you responded Not Much, Little or Somewhat to the question To what extent do you feel your school has the resources, support, protocols and procedures to respond to a death in the school community?

74% of you responded Not Much, Little or Somewhat to the question To what degree do you feel equipped to respond to a grieving student?

You indicated that the following resource components would be helpful:

  • Grief theory and how grief shows up
  • Attending to grieving families
  • Supporting grieving students
  • Compassionate classrooms
  • Video and audio recordings
  • Activity ideas and handouts
  • Resources such as books and movies
  • Printed materials
  • Protocols and procedures

You shared that the following have been or could be barriers for you in responding to a student who is experiencing grief:

  • Lack of knowledge
  • Not confident I would know what to do
  • Worried about what would come up and not being able to deal with it
  • Worried I will make things worse
  • Not having adequate time

The respondents included: teachers, school counsellors, school administrators, family support workers, educational support staff, secretary, and “other” roles.

You can be a part of our Grief in my Backpack resource. Email us at with a story you want to share with us about supporting a grieving students, questions or requests. Follow us on social media for information on our programs and services, education sessions, resources and developments.  You can find us on Instagram & Twitter.

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