This workshop deals with the topic of death, parental separation, entry into foster care or moving away from their familiar environment, its impact on a child and ways to support them through what can be a difficult time.

Many children will experience loss at some stage of their life. Such loss can occur for many reasons, including the death of someone close to them, parental separation, entry into foster care or moving away from their familiar environment, to name but a few. Many factors define the way in which a child processes and comprehends a loss including their age and stage of development, significance of relationships, family background and their own personality and temperament. Therefore, professionals need to be prepared and informed on how to offer support adequately and appropriate to each individual child’s needs.

This workshop will aim to provide participants with information, knowledge and understanding on the topic of loss and the experiences of bereavement and grief as a result, its impact on a child and ways to support them through what can be a difficult time. In addition to this, participants will have the opportunity to share and discuss their experiences on supporting children through loss. They will also engage in some simple activities deemed beneficial in supporting children through their loss.

Course Content

  • Introduction to loss and the associated experiences of bereavement and grief
  • Different types of loss a child may experience
  • Factors which influence the impact of loss on a child
  • A child’s understanding of, and reactions to, various experiences of loss, dependent on their age and stage of development
  • An overview of the various types and methods of support available
  • Ideas and activities for supporting a child through their loss
  • Provision of a list of books and resources beneficial to supporting the child through their loss

Course Tutor

Aoife Gallagher graduated from Institute of Technology, Sligo in 2015 with a First Class Honours Degree in Early Childhood Care & Education. She has undertaken various research projects through the Health Research Board and for Sligo Leitrim Children and Young People's Services Committee (CYPSC) and the Northwest Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force on topics pertaining to children and childhood.

Aoife is currently undertaking a Research PhD at Institute of Technology, Sligo entitled: Supporting Bereaved Children in Primary School and Early Year's Services: policy, practice and lived experiences.

Her interest in the topic of supporting bereaved children has developed from her own personal experience of loss and grief having lost both her brother and her father within three and a half years of each other to suicide and, thus, considering her ability to support her then two young children through their grief, whilst navigating her own difficult journey.

She has been delivering workshops for CanavanByrne for over three years, mainly on the topic of her research, which provides information and supports for early years professionals caring for bereaved children in their settings and how this is achieved through provision of supportive and empathic interactions, activities and environments.

Aoife also had the opportunity to join Ryan Tubridy on his RTE 1 Radio Show to share her personal experience and her research journey and the interview can be accessed here:

Course Duration and Delivery

Inservice Training Public Training This is a 3 hour course when delivered as Inservice Training or Public Training Event.