Offering school staff information, language, and tools for supporting grieving students.
The Grief in my Backpack resource, developed by the Children’s Grief Centre, equips teachers and community leaders to support grieving students. Through written, visual, and audio content, you’ll gain or expand your knowledge, language, and tools for supporting youth as they navigate the advanced illness or death of someone close to them.
Welcome to Grief in my Backpack
Grief in my Backpack Modules
The Children’s Grief Centre created the Grief in my Backpack resource in response to feedback from school staff across Alberta, who were concerned about responding well when their students were grieving. This online resource covers a wide range of topics developed to equip school staff with the knowledge and tools they need.
The introduction module provides an overview of what you can expect from Grief in my Backpack and helps to familiarize you with navigating module content.
Module 1: Grief Theories & Models
Exploring different ways of understanding grief builds our awareness of its breadth and diversity—a critical starting point as we learn how to support those who are grieving.
Module 2: How Grief Shows Up
What are grief experience and expression? How are they different? Module 2 explores how grief shows up for children and teens, including signs of grief, what is beneath the surface, and what can influence students’ experience of grief.
Module 3: Understanding Grief in Context
How individuals experience grief is complex and needs more than a one-size-fits-all approach to support. We’ll explore how our biases and assumptions can get in the way of us providing support to students in the way that the student needs and how practicing humility helps us move beyond the limits of our perspective to learn and understand grief in new ways.
Module 4: Supporting Grieving Students
So far, we’ve explored the difference between grief experience and expression. We’ve also examined how grief’s physical, cognitive, emotional, relational, behavioural and spiritual impacts affect students’ capacity to meet the demands of their classroom and school. In Module 4, we’ll consider specific questions, approaches, and activities focused on supporting individual students.
Module 5: Compassionate Classrooms
Throughout the Grief in my Backpack resource, we’ve built our capacity for grief-informed interactions with children, teens, and families. Module 5 expands our perspective to explore reducing isolation and increasing understanding and support in our classroom communities. These changes benefit every student.
Module 6: Processes & Protocols
In this Module, we will explore the various processes and protocols schools can create and implement to be responsive and coordinated when news of an illness or death impacts a student and the school community.
Empowering the Community
One of the Children’s Grief Centre’s core service areas is education and resourcing for professionals. The Children’s Grief Centre team believes in the power of building capacity in the community to best support children, teens, and families who are grieving after the death of someone in their lives or as they face a life-threatening illness in their family.
The Children’s Grief Centre and Hospice Calgary have a long-standing relationship with many core organizations in our community, including schools, the health and mental health sector, family-serving community agencies, victim services, post-secondary institutions and more.
Using our experience and expertise, our counsellors/educators offer in-person and online learning opportunities designed to strengthen, engage and equip our community. They share practical tools and provide resources to support professionals and community advocates in their day-to-day work.
Children’s Grief Centre Range of Services
- Individual & Family
- In-person & Online
- Kids Club (children & parents)
- Common Ground (teens)
- The Hangout (teens)
- The Village (families with children)
- Parents Lunch & Learn
- Email (consult)
- Education / Workshops
- Grief in my Backpack (school-specific)