Dear Parents and Educators,
Our children are growing up in a world where they are more and more aware of times of disaster, natural and human made. With the media and rapid travel of news, only our very youngest children are now out of “earshot of news.” Today our country suffers the loss of children’s lives in Newtown, Connecticut. Many of your children may hear of this heartbreaking and senseless event over the next few days. As this shooting occurred in a school and to children, the impact of it on you and your children is deep. With this in mind, we want to provide some ideas of ways for parents and educators to support students and families.
For teachers of young children, listen closely to children’s conversations and watch their play. If you see a child talking about the shooting, talk to that child one-on-one, addressing his/her concerns in order to provide comfort and reassurance. Be sure to let the child’s parents know.
Older children may want and need to talk about it, with their friends or with their teachers. Our suggestions for helping those conversations are very similar to those we would offer for younger children, with an additional reminder that in homes where there are younger children, those talks should happen away from them. At school, some discussion may emerge. Teachers should monitor those and listen both to the information students share and for the feelings that may accompany them. Both warrant a response along the guidelines suggested below.
In the Aftermath of Newtown