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I have just heard today that a 3 year old girl in my setting is about to lose her mother to cancer. To my knowledge mum has not mentioned anything to her daughter. Dad is quiet and shy, but I think he has the support of his own mother. The girl attends two afternoons only per week, which will increase next term to two full days.

 

Would love some help and advice to be as supportive as we can without interfering.

 

Thank you.

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What sad news!

 

Try the Winston's Wish site - it's all about supporting chidren when a family member has cancer.

 

Hope it helps.

 

Nona

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Thats sad news.

Dad might appriciate you approaching him.

Tell him you've heard mom is very ill and that you are all there for him and the little girl.

You might be able to offer extra sessions to help the family out now and again.

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How did you find out about this very sad event?

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I believe See-Saw is a charity that helps bereaved children; give them a try. This will be a hard time for you and your staff too, condolences to all and be strong x

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Hi Lesley

 

Very sad news!

 

I have a book 'Early Years Foundations - meeting the challenge'. There is a section on coping with bereavement which looks quite useful and you are welcome to borrow.

 

There is a web address too - www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk

 

best wishes

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What sad news!

 

Try the Winston's Wish site - it's all about supporting chidren when a family member has cancer.

 

Hope it helps.

 

Nona

My dear friend Nessa was one of the families who took part in the series that was televised...and I know her family were very much involved.

 

Such wondeerful people.

 

Toadie

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My dear friend Nessa was one of the families who took part in the series that was televised...and I know her family were very much involved.

 

Such wonderful people.

 

Toadie

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Hi Helen

 

When the child moved into my room I was informed that mum had had cancer. I had noticed she was wearing a headscarf and had obviously been having chemo. Nobody seems to know very many details and I think this is how the family wants it to be - at least at the moment.

 

I had the day off yesterday and when I went in today, was told that mum and grannie (mum in law) had been in and informed manager that she's been given two months. Apart from anything else, the child has quite underdeveloped language and does not interact with other children very much. I know that mum has horses and she often plays with model horses. She is in tomorrow and now that everyone knows we need to organise ourselves.

 

Thanks to all of you for your replies and I will follow up all your suggestions.

 

So sad. Thanks a million.

 

Lesley

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my sister died from Leukaemia when her son was 4. My advice would be to let the family know that you know and that yo are willing to help in any way that you can, without being obtrusive or seeming to interfere.My sister didn't want her son to be treated any differently and once she had begun to accept that there was no more treatment, she wanted to plan for his future within the school community. We went to any events we could although chemo makes you very weak and resistance is low. His Nursery staff took lots of photos of her son in his everyday avctivities. She loved to look at these as she knew he was happy and carrying on as normal. We still look at these together 7 years on and he remembers vivdly that mum was sick, but he is fortunate to still see some school staff as they lived in a small village. Take your cue from the family and the child. What lies ahead is unbearably painful and traumatic but you can be a quiet help in more ways than you know. Good luck. Thinking of the family.

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thats sad we had a mum pass away a couple of years ago and the child was clingy to dad at first but about a month afterwards we had the real test it was her birthday and she was convinved that mum was coming back for her birthday it was heartbreaking

 

we've got a child at the moment with an older sibling with very advanced leukimia things dont look good but all the child knows it that sister is ill in hospital I dont think at this stage there is much we can do, we chat about her older sister in hospital while we play so that she can express her feelings, we added a few medical props to the home corner so if she wanted to play doctors and act out some of the things she had seen while visiting her sister in the hospital it would help her deal with things or allow a time to ask the adults.we've offered support to the family by means of offering more flexible sessions but again sometimes there isnt much that anyone can do but be there,

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I would agree with the previous thread.

 

Just being there and offering support will be what they will remember.

 

I had a parent last year who had a baby with serious heart problems and she constantly told us that nursery was a safe haven for her older daughter and how much she appreciated us and our flexibility.

Fortunately this story has a happier ending in that the baby (now 18 months old) is doing really well.

 

On the other side, another mum had a baby on the day we broke up from school for the summer, and the week before we came back to school we were at the funeral.

Again sympathy and support were all we could offer and a haven for her elder daughter. We spoke to parents and were told how they had explained it to their daughter and so we were able to say what they had said re where the baby had gone.

The family used a hospice for a few weeks and to further show our support after talking with Mum, we took this as our charity this year and just raised a little over £800 from a sponsored bike ride.

 

There will only be so much you can do and being an ear for someone to approach and talk to will also be a help

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lots of good advice...

 

We found that parents have been grateful for the way things at pre-school did not change, it was the one place the child could be themselves and felt that things were the same and not changing. This was even more important after the bereavement , we offered support if the parents wanted it, and were flexible as we could be with attendance days and extra hours if needed at short notice.

 

I have been unfortunate to have had several children with some kind of bereavement , be it a sibling, or parent and each time the parents have commented that having a place the child could be happy and enjoy which was constant in their lives was one of the best things we could offer.

 

Inge

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I think it is something you very much need to play by ear as every child and family cope in different ways (speaking as someone who has been there both as a parent and a teacher)

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I have just read your message and wanted to reply straight away as I am going through a very similar experience with a child in my reception class. Sadly her mum passed away a month ago and it is such a distressing time. My advice from my own experience would be as others have said is let the dad and other family members know you are there and will do all you can. I spoke with the school SENCO who set up a councillor who has given support both at home and school and there are a number of good websites. My LSA's and I had known the mum for a number of years and so this beravment has effected all of us alot too so try and make sure you have support for yourselves.

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A couple of years ago one of our Mums was killed suddenly, just before Christmas, in a car crash. Her two little boys were with us and Dad kept bringing them in and said he wanted to keep their structure.

All the other parents made a book for Dad, and another for the children, of their thoughts about Mum, so that the boys could look back on it later when they are old enough to understand.

 

I have found a book called 'Badger's parting gifts' a real tear-jerker, but very good for helping children come to terms with death. I would say - read it first a couple of times till you feel you are ready to read it out loud! I was given it 'cold' to read to a reception, year 1 a few years ago, with no warning, and halfway through thought 'ooh er - I think I know where this is going'

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Hi Lesley,

At least it's all out in the open now, and you can follow the excellent advice given above. It's always so difficult when you don't know whether or not you're supposed to know. :o Now you can be proactive in saying you are there for them.

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What a difficult situation. Take care of yourself too, Lesley and Chirpy who has slipped in here unnoticed with her first post.

Thank you for sharing that with us and I hope you will feel able to contribute again to "happier" threads, Chirpy.

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Thanks Susan for pointing out Chirpy's first appearance; I had completely missed that fact xD

Thank you for your first contribution, Chirpy; the first of many we hope :o

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the parents have commented that having a place the child could be happy and enjoy which was constant in their lives was one of the best things we could offer.

This struck a chord with me too - I remember a little girl at pre-school some years ago whose father died after a long and protracted illness. She was very matter of fact about it and we took our cues from her and let her know that we were there to listen when she wanted to talk but otherwise it was very much 'business as normal' during her time with us. It was almost as if pre-school was a safe haven of normality away from the sadness and grief that had engulfed her family.

 

My heart goes out to the family you're supporting - but also to you and your colleagues who will inevitably be affected by this too. Don't forget your own needs for emotional support too - you'll need it in order to continue to support the child and family through the dark days ahead.

 

Maz

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Hi there,

 

Thanks to everyone for your replies. I downloaded the Winston's Wish and the NCB details and have set up a folder for everyone at the setting and in my class to use. Thanks so much for those suggestions.

 

I told mum last Thursday that we are here and ready to help with anything - I stressed anything. The next day she stayed in the car and dad came in to collect the child. You could see it was difficult for him, but he overcame the initial shyness and exchanged a few words.

 

Thank you all so much for your concerns and I will let you know how things go. Thanks too Chirpy for your kind suggestions. I have spoken to our 2 Sencos and we will all work together on this. Thanks Cait for the idea of a book - that sounds wonderful.

 

Stay in touch.

 

Lesley

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Thank you for the kind messages welcoming me. I have used this forum for a couple of years now and find it amazing. It can feel like a lonely place sometimes in a school where I am the only Reception class teacher and so I love looking for ideas and reassuarnce that I am doing the same things as others. I hope too that other threads I can now reply to are on a happier note but the forum was the first place I went for guidance, when this awful situation arose in my class recently.

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Hi there,

 

I thought I would let you know how things are going with the situation I described previously. The girl returned to the setting today, starting her two full days including surviving a large, boisterous group during her first lunch. She came in really enthusiastically and didn't bat an eyelid. Coped really well and even began to extend some of her (solitary) play to include equipment she has not yet explored. Considering she had had a bad night, according to dad's (first) comment in the home-school link book, she did marvellously.

 

Dad was quite chatty on pick up - another step forward. We had already had some concerns re her speech, noting that she echoes quite a lot, but certainly comprehends what is said and also follows the routines of the setting. We'll see how things go tomorrow.

 

Thanks again for your concerns and great wisdom.

 

Best wishes,

 

Lesley :o

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Hi

 

Glad your relationship with Dad is developing well and of course the little girl appears to be coping.

 

Have you seen the bereavement policy in the resources section? Digging around in there today I saw it and thought of you.

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Hi there,

 

Thanks Deb, I will go and look for it.

 

Lesley :o

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Hi again Deb,

 

I clicked on resources but it keeps coming up error. Tried one or two words. How did you get into it?

 

:o

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glad it went well today Lesley - well done :o

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