Developed by Child Bereavement UK, Elephant’s Tea Party is a free initiative for schools that raises the topics of death and grief in a sensitive and age appropriate way. It helps teachers give children the emotional literacy and life skills needed to equip them for bereavement, now and in later life.
Using creative exercises, lesson plans and fun activities, underpinned by support, experience and guidance from Child Bereavement UK, Elephant’s Tea Party gives staff the resources to help pupils explore the subject in an age-appropriate, straightforward and accessible way, ending with a tea party fundraising event for all to enjoy! The first Elephant’s Tea Party took place in June 2013, and we are now inviting schools to sign up throughout the academic year, and run activities as and when it fits into their schedule.
Bereavement can affect children and young people in many ways, and a study has shown that 92% of people will experience a ‘significant’ bereavement before the age of 16 years. Statistics show that 1 in 29 children are bereaved of a parent or sibling, and around 1 in 16 are bereaved of a close friend. Other children will be facing imminent bereavement due to illness. Some will experience the death of a carer or a grandparent, a family member, friend or a teacher; some children might find the death of a family pet or even a TV celebrity particularly upsetting.
No-one knows what lies ahead, but what we do know is that death and bereavement will affect us all at some point in our lives. Teachers, in trusted positions and in regular contact with children, are very well placed to support pupils in a safe environment.
Elephant’s Tea Party was the brainchild of Child Bereavement UK patrons and bereaved parents, Paul and Louise Woodbridge.
Louise Woodbridge said: “We know from when our children went back to school after their brother and sister had died, what a huge difference the sensitive support of friends and teachers could make. We want Elephant’s Tea Party to help schools talk about the often difficult subject of death in a normal way, so that everyone has a better idea of what to say and do when someone is grieving. We also want everyone to enjoy the Elephant’s Tea Party and have loads of fun!”
Child Bereavement UK would like to thank Paul & Louise who kindly helped fund the development of Elephant’s Tea Party in memory of their twins, Betsy and William.