Grief in my Backpack

Online learning offering school staff information, language, and tools for supporting grieving students.

Grief in my Backpack

Online learning offering school staff information, language, and tools for supporting grieving students.

Grief in my Backpack

Online learning offering school staff information, language, and tools for supporting grieving students.

Welcome to the Grief in my Backpack school resource!

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.


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.


What Teachers are Saying

Grief in my Backpack is an online, self-guided version of our education programs. Here’s what teachers have said about our in-service consultation, training, seminars and accredited workshops.

This gave me a wonderful foundation for understanding grief and a sense of creativity when viewing interventions and approaching conversations.

This will be so useful with kids going through loss in many ways – grief, death, divorce, friendships.

This was the most helpful workshop (due to practical takeaways) that I’ve ever attended.

This has given me so many tools to use in intervention. You have also given me new ways to think about grief and engage with clients.

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.
  • Thousands of people have benefitted from our in-service consultation, training, seminars and accredited workshops.

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)

Online Support

  • Parents Lunch & Learn
  • Email (consult)
  • Videos


  • Website
  • Education/Workshops
  • Grief in my Backpack (school-specific)

Hospice Calgary

Three centres of excellence.

What Hospice Calgary Offers

  • Child & Family Grief Counselling through the Children’s Grief Centre: We provide programs and services that guide grieving children, teens, and families as they face advanced illness and life after the death of someone close to them (including sudden or accidental deaths).
  • Support during Advanced Illness through Living with Advanced Illness Centre: We offer individual and group support for those living with advanced illness.
  • End-of-Life Care through Rosedale Hospice: Located in the quiet NW neighbourhood of Rosedale, we provide 24-hour end-of-life care for adult cancer patients.
  • Education: We offer presentations and accredited workshops and can deliver them to groups and schools, customizing the content, location and format to the audience.
  • Resources: We develop information, tools and resources for grieving children, teens, and their families, as well as for those living with advanced illness and their family members. Our resources are also available to support volunteers, professionals and community advocates in their day-to-day work.

Visit the Hospice Calgary homepage at


To help families and individuals achieve support, hope & well-being through compassionate end-of-life and bereavement care.


To be an innovative leader for compassionate, holistic, family-centred end-of-life and bereavement care.


Compassion • Dignity • Empathy • Equality • Ethical Practice • Family-Centred Care • High Quality Service • Inclusiveness • Integrity • Respectfulness

Land Acknowledgment

We formally recognize the unique and enduring relationship between this land and the Indigenous Peoples of this place. Because of this relationship, we have this land to gather on in the way that we do today. In the spirit of reconciliation, we invite you to reflect on what it means to acknowledge that we live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.