How to listen and have conversations around loss

Helping you have conversations around grief & emotional loss 

Loss is a part of life - and losses occur during childhood whether we're ready for them or not.  
 
The loss of a grandparent or pet, changing schools, divorce, a best friend moving away - these are common losses that can have a huge effect on the wellbeing of a child. 
 
The Open Ears Programme has been designed to equip children with coping strategies and the right tools to deal with loss, learned in a fun, yet informative way through a series of weekly activities spread out over the year. 
 
Open Ears gives children the means to deal with losses of any kind and help their emotional development and well-being. 
"Thanks Grief UK - love these tools and ideas! So comprehensive, all the hard work has been done for me for the entire year! New PSHE curriculum sorted!" 
Sara, RE Teacher, West Midlands 

Giving children life-long skills and emotional intelligence 

Conversations around grief in the classroom
The Open Ears Programme has been designed to help children learn how to: 
listen to their emotions 
handle difficult emotions 
listen and help others. 
 
Children will also gain plenty of other skills too, such as: 
self-awareness  
taking responsibility  
being a good friend 
learning how to listen. 
 
The Open Ears Programme is a user-friendly, year-long PSHE curriculum to develop life-long skills to cope with bereavement, grief and loss, incorporating feelings and emotional wellbeing, developing healthy relationships, and resilience into learning. 
 
All the hard work has been done for you in our ready-made Open Ears Programme, which meets many of the objectives found in the new PSHE Curriculum guidelines (September 2020), and includes worksheets, lesson plans, assemblies, and circle times. 
PSHE lesson ideas

Everything you need for the new PSHE guidelines 

All the hard work has been done for you with the Open Ears Programme, as it meets many of the objectives found in the PSHE Curriculum guidelines (September 2020), and includes: 
 
23 worksheets 
36 lesson plans 
6 assemblies 
6 circle times 
24 posters 
1100 stickers 
30 Open Ears Passports 
30 Completion Certificates 
 
The intention is for you to follow one value per half term and carry out one corresponding activity per week. 

PSHE Lessons structured around values and empathy 

The values are in an order, so that skills can be accumulated along the way: 
 
Be Present – learning to be in the moment and listen to ourselves and others 
Empathy – understanding others and why they might feel the way they feel 
Community – creating a sense of belonging 
Encouragement – learning how to support each other 
Self-Awareness – reflecting on their own behaviour and actions 
Responsibility – taking control of their actions and emotions 

Developed by experts, ACEs-informed 

The Open Ears Programme has been designed by Grief UK, who brought together a development team comprising of: 
 
Teachers 
Psychotherapists 
Grief Recovery Specialists 
Relationship Coaches 
Forest School Practitioners 
Parent Governors 
 
The Open Ears suite of tools has been developed based on Grief UK’s ACEs-informed programme, Helping Children with Loss
 
The name 'Open Ears' is an acronym we use to describe how to have a conversation with someone who is grieving: 
Open with how you’re feeling 
Patiently wait for their response 
Establish a tone of trust and safety 
Note that grief is emotional, not intellectual 
Each reaction is normal and natural 
Avoid phrases that discourage painful feelings 
Remember, listen with your heart, not your head 
Summarise by acknowledging their feelings 

Open Ears Box of Hearts 

Open Ears Box of Hearts
The 52 cards inside the Box of Hearts each have a question or statement to start off conversations for children to share and learn about their feelings. 
 

Open Ears Barney Bear 

Barney Bear
Designed to accompany the Open Ears programme and a great conversation starter alongside the Box of Hearts. 

Motivational A3 Posters 

Motivational Posters for Schools
Inspired by our 5 Point Plan eBook, these 5 x poster pictures will look great in your classroom. 

Feedback for Open Ears - Box of Hearts 

"Finally!!! An innovative tool which helps teachers communicate with children! The “Open Ears - Box of Hearts” cards give children permission to express emotions, share their world view, and talk about how navigating life looks for them. As a parent, former school nurse and school district administrator, and global trainer, the card content has the ability to facilitate conversations between children and teachers in any school community. Well done, Grief UK!!!" 

About Grief UK 

Grief UK is an education and training organisation that teaches The Grief Recovery Method, the only evidence-based grief programme globally that helps people to learn how to move beyond death, divorce, and other losses. 
 
We can train up to eight people at once to help children to deal with loss online or in person. 
 
In addition to the Open Ears Programme, we have created a number of free resources here to encourage coaching conversations around emotional well-being. 
Grief UK
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