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Death in a student's family


Senior Member
One of my fifth graders lost her dad suddenly. I just read the obituary this morning. There was very little mentioned. The funeral and burial are private . There will be no calling hours. How can I show her I care when she returns to school? The guidence person has been notified. Any suggestions to make coming back easier for her?? Thanks.


New Member
deat of parent

I also teach fifth grade and the same thing happened to me at the beginning of the year. My students instantly wanted to make cards for her to let her know that they were thinking of her. I went to Build-A-Bear and with my daughter's helped picked out a bear for her. She loved it and mom said it really helped to know we were thinking of her. Our psychologist came in and prepped the kids before she returned. Things went smoothly. I would send her a little note/card to let her know you are thinking of her and if you want to have the other students do the same I think it would help her.


Senior Member

Get the book "Beyond the Ridge" and read to the class. It is about an Indian lady who dies. It is the best I have ever came across. It is a short book, but great. It is worth the effort to get a copy. I have read Black Rasberries, before I found Beyond the Ridge.

If you know where they live, take food by the home. Or take it by the funeral home and they will give it to the family. Or bake a cake and send it home with the child Put it in a throw away pan.
Or a bag of oranges and apples will work.


Senior Member
Similar story...

My second year of teaching, one of my fifth grade student's lost her mother suddenly. She was actually my homeroom mother! It happened over the holidays, just a few days before Christmas. My principal and I were both able to attend the funeral, since it wasn't private. I carried the little girl a teddy bear with a short note attached. I really think it meant a lot to her.

I would definitely talk to your guidance counselor. I set up a "buddy group" for my student. Basically, this was just a couple of her closest friends that were in my class. She knew that anytime she needed to cry, felt sad, talk to someone, or just get away from it all...she could always turn to myself or her buddy group. There were one or two times she and her buddy group went down to our counselor's office, sat on her big couch, and just talked. I think this really helped her.

Also, I wouldn't dwell on the death of your student's dad a whole lot in the classroom. More than anything, this student will probably look forward to coming back to school. He/she will be able to spend time with friends and get his/her mind off the past couple weeks that have been so tragic. School will be probably be one of the first steps to getting life back to "normal."