- Cancer Information
- Schools and teachers
- Cancer in the school community
- The bereaved school community
- Planning a memorial
Planning a memorial
In addition to any funeral or other formal service organised by the family, your school might hold a memorial service to honour the life of a student, parent or colleague. Participation in a memorial service allows the community to share their grief and honour the loss of the school member. Community members can collaborate with the family to organise the event.
When planning a service, you might consider:
|The setting||Will the service be held at the school? How formal will it be? Is there any special music that could be played or performed?|
|Who will attend||Will you make a public or school-wide announcement to let people know about the service? Would the family like you to ask everyone to wear a particular colour as a gesture of support?|
|Who will lead the service||Are there school staff, friends, students or family who would like to be involved?|
|Sharing memories||How can people share favourite memories or thoughts? Will there be a program or a slide show?|
|Flowers, donations and cards||Should people bring flowers, or would the family prefer donations to a charity? Where can people leave sympathy cards?|
Appoint a staff member (school counsellor, chaplain or teacher) for children to talk to if they become upset before, during or after the memorial service.
Podcast: Coping with Grief
Claire Tobin, Principal Medical Advisor, Department of Education and Training, VIC; Dr Antoinette Anazodo, Paediatric and Adolescent Oncologist, Sydney Children’s Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital, Director of The Sydney Youth Cancer Service, and Conjoint Senior Researcher, University of New South Wales, NSW; Lisa Barrow, Clinical Nurse Educator, Children’s Cancer Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC; Margo Bulic, Psychosocial Support Worker, CanTeen, ACT; Amber Copeland, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Donna Drew, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Paediatric Oncology/Palliative Care, Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, NSW; Allesha Fecondo, Education Consultant, Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service, and Education Liaison, Ronald McDonald Learning Program, Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia, VIC; John Friedsam, General Manager of Divisions, CanTeen Australia, NSW; Pina Hutcheson, President, Catholic Primary Principals’ Association of WA; Cara Irvine, Year 8 Coordinator, Alfred Deakin High School, ACT; Andrew Long, Assistant Director, Policy and Research, Independent Schools Council of Australia, ACT; Dr Alistair Lum, Post-doctoral Research Fellow – Behavioural Sciences Unit, Sydney Children’s Hospital, University of New South Wales, NSW; Kristine Luszczynski, Learning Program Manager, Quality and Standards, Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia, NSW; Anita Neville, National Manager, Ronald McDonald Learning Program, Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia, VIC; NSW Department of Education, NSW; Mandy Roney, Consumer; Shannon Rush, Primary School Program Manager, Camp Quality, SA; Luke Wade, Education and Career Support Consultant, Redkite, QLD.
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