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A death associated with the school community

To create space for bereavement; to aid the process of mourning; to offer a pathway through a difficult time.

by Gordon and Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To create space for bereavement. To aid the process of mourning. To offer a pathway through a difficult time.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly is intended to form part of the grieving process and assumes that the initial news and perhaps shock have had time to sink in. It is suggested that the leader takes time for him/herself before the assembly.
  • You will need a copy of Water Bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney (Mowbray, ISBN 0 264 66904 5) either to read out in the assembly or to be read to individual classes prior to the assembly. 
  • Prior to the assembly, issue an invitation to the children to bring something in to remember the individual by, an object (perhaps a favourite library book?), a poem, a memory. Place these in a special area of the hall before the assembly.


1. Give a brief explanation of the purpose of assembly: to remember the person, and to offer practical instructions and suggestions (a special place to go and be quiet, a book of remembrance, things to read and look at, the presence of a counsellor/chaplain in school).

2. Allow for a short time of silence for the children’s own memories (not too long, to avoid over-emotional responses). Then play some music, perhaps person's favourite (but not a mournful piece). Invite the children to look at the objects in the remembrance area.

3. Explain what resources are available in the school to help them to come to terms with the death: a counsellor/chaplain, a quiet space, a book of remembrance, etc.

4. Read the story, Water Bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney. This short story is about how the water bugs mourn the loss of their friends when they transform into dragonflies. It can be read as part of the assembly, or talked about if class teachers have already read it to classes.

Song and music

No individual song is suggested for this assembly, as the circumstances will be so specific. It might be appropriate to sing a song associated with the person being mourned, play more of their favourite music, or perhaps leave the hall in silence.

Publication date: January 1999   (Vol.1 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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