When a young person returns to school after a significant change such as the loss of a loved one, it is a difficult time.
In a school environment, this can be confronting and challenging with peers often feeling uncertainty and discomfort around how best to support their fellow classmate. As a result, students can feel isolated when they need heightened support most of all.
The LEAF (Life. Education. Art. Feelings.) LifeCycles Schools Program for Year 7-9 students, an initiative of The Hospital Research Foundation Group – Palliative Care, and now supported by Centre for Creative Health, provides a unique opportunity for participating schools to become leaders in developing and normalising the sensitive discussion around death, dying, grief, loss and life cycles.
By opening conversation and normalizing these concepts, school environments will be better equipped to break the silence that surrounds this often taboo subject.
Middle School students at Mercedes College found the program extremely valuable.
“The artwork that students produce allows them to express themselves in a different way, opening up discussions that are particularly difficult to have. With compassion embedded into these conversations in a safe place here at the school, it’s a really beneficial program for both students and teachers,” said Jarrad McCabe, Mercedes College Head of Middle School.
Year 9 student Eliza said: “When I started the LifeCycles work, I started to think about nature and emotions. It made me realise we are all part of a cycle.”