Saturday, 24 May 2014

Dandelion Death


maybe not always the most comfortable of topics to talk about, but it has been on the minds of the children for quite some time now. And really peaked when one of the inhabitants in the sheltered housing died not so long ago... a person who always waved, always interacted with the children - and was probably very much a part of the children's daily routine as lunch and rest is.

The children have been playing death

Yesterday two of the children "killed" me and I lay on the floor dead. I wondered what would happen if I played dead for longer than they expected (being careful to listen out for any stress). One of the children kept hitting me (not so hard - but on occasions a bit too hard) and the other kept telling them to stop that it would hurt me... after a while the other child answered "but it won't hurt, because she is dead"

They tried to work out if I was really dead and decided that they should listen for a heart beat. They lifted up my top looked at my stomache and said "no, no heart beat" - then decided that maybe they should listen. They put their head to my lower right rib cage and came to the conclusion that I was dead... they could not hear my heart.

Then, they realised they needed to bring me back to life, and since they magicked me dead, they tried to magic me alive. I let the first spell not work. Not deterred they tried another spell, which was interrupted as the other child did not think it was going to work... and the third spell worked... I opened my eyes and the children laughed... including a few more who had come to see what was happening. Within 30 seconds of being alive I was killed again... this time they were quicker to magic me back to life... where I put on my magic shield so that I could not be killed again by their spells.

A few minutes later one of the children came over to me and asked if I had really been dead
"No" I answered "I was playing dead"
"Oh you were dead for real - I put a spell on you"

Later in the morning we took our dead dandelions to the graveyard - to spead those that had gone to seed (flying like small angels) and lay to rest the stalks... the children then played a game of putting dead spells on each other and then bringing each other back to life. The graveyard is a huge forested graveyard with lots of green areas... the area we used is visible from the entrance of our preschool.

The children are taught respect for the graves that are there... they also learn that you do not die in a graveyard, but that it is a place for those AFTER death... before visiting the graveyard (we have done several times over the year) most children were a little afraid because they understood the connection of the place with death as the place where you die... so we have helped the children overcome this fear).

Next week there will be a mini-dinosaur project (how it will develop I do not know) - partly as several of the children were expressing their interest in dinosaurs and the other children said they would also like to find out more... and partly because I see this as an excellent way to explore death some more... the dinosaurs are dead, there are just fossils left... how will the children react to this?


  1. Really interesting post, Suzanne. It's a topic that I've covered in the past as well. I think a lot of people feel uncomfortable with this subject around children but death too is part of life and playing dead etc is a good way for kids to process that information. Nature is another place to learn about life and death, since it abounds with examples of both.

    1. yes, I agree, many do feel uncomfortable talking about death around children... and hiding it from children makes it more scary as they don't have the time and opportunity to play it, to ask questions and to understand that it is just a part of life......
      I also totally agree about nature... we have been up close with a dead bird too...