How does a pupil’s age and stage of development affect their understanding of death?

“A pupil’s understanding of death is determined, in large part, by their developmental age.”

Children and young people mature at different rates and their understanding and responses to bereavement are likely to be based as much on their experience of life as on their chronological age.

As pupils grow up:

  • They may need to look again at the details surrounding a death and will need time and space to explore its impact.
  • Feelings they had when they were young will be different, as their understanding develops and the meaning of the death changes as they move through life.

At any age, the reaction to a death is unique and very personal. It is important to allow others to grieve in their own way and not to place a hierarchy of grief, or to assume to know how a bereaved person is feeling.