Play School helps with stories about beginnings and endings.

This morning Play School did something very special. It had an episode about new life and end of life.

Emma, one of the presenters explained to an earlier television news audience that the team sought the guidance of experts on managing grief in children.

Children deal with death in a very concrete way. Euphemisms confuse them. Silence when something emotionally big has happened in their world worries them. Worry can lead to fear. Gentle yet supportive conversation, backwards and forwards until their curiosity is satisfied and their needs have been met is the key to reassuring them.

Sophie by Mem Fox, illustrated by Craig Smith - courtesy Play School, ABC.
Mem Fox’s ‘Sophie’, the story of a beloved grandfather – who gets older and smaller and then dies – features.

Play School’s website says the following:

“The Play School team have identified key topics that are of concern to families living with pre-school children and collaborated with specialists within the early childhood sector to create one off Play School Specials. Beginnings and Endings has been crafted to help families explain the cycle of life and the concept of death in an age appropriate way.”

“The Beginnings and Endings episode has been made in consultation with the National Centre for Childhood Grief, who worked with the Play School team throughout the development of the show. The centre recognised that there is currently very little available to help children experiencing grief and that introducing the subject in a gentle, safe environment, as this episode is doing, is a great way to help children start to understand life and death.”

Of course there’s a lot of talk about lovely babies at the beginning of the show. The human kind and the animal kind. Discussing endings comes later in the show, first hinted at by lovely little twin boys who explain that they’re getting a new puppy because an old dog, who they loved very much, died.

This is a good one to bookmark for those occasions when little ones need support when someone dies. And it could help you with a way in to talking with them about this sensitive subject.

To view Play School’s Beginnings and Endings, go to:

Sesame Street also discussed the death of Mr Hooper, the shopkeeper, with Big Bird to help children understand about death.

Read the story of Christine, whose family didn’t talk to her about her father’s death when she was a child:

For more on the grief of a child, including resources, go to:

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