From Adelaide, to Paris, with hope

When I heard the news about the attacks in Paris, I’d just come back from walking along the pier at St Kilda beach. The skies were grey, there was a light drizzle falling, and there were many boats of various shapes and sizes bobbing on the waves.

I had the ubiquitous white ear buds pumping energising tunes into my ears. My cheeks were lightly pink from the half-hearted cardio attempts I’d made, and my mind was throwing up questions and wonderings about what the work day ahead held.

I came back to my hotel room, turned on the television, and was hit with a wave of shock. Sadly, since September 2001, this isn’t a new experience for me – being punched in the gut with shock and awe and a feeling that the world just isn’t the safe place we long for it to be.

Despite my desire to run and hide under the bed, my thoughts turned to my own children – a whole state away – hopefully wrapped up in their morning routine. I hoped they were eating Weetbix, in their school uniforms. I hoped that the caring adult in their world had the presence of mind to shield their ears, minds and hearts from what the media was spitting out.

I hoped that their caring adult was mindful in their response to the acts of terrorism, and thought carefully about the words they said out loud, reflecting on the fact that their words, facial expressions and responses to this outrage were planting a potentially life long seed, of how certain groups of people would be perceived.

I hoped that their caring adult took the time to hold them close, to remind them that they were loved, to remind them that they would do everything in their power to protect them always from anyone who meant them harm.

From so far away, all I could do was hope.

All I can do, moving forward, is hope.

Hope – that there are Education and Care professionals who feel as passionately as I do about social justice – and thankfully here, I can say assuredly that there are.

Hope – that there are Education and Care professionals who understand that their calm and measured tone may be the only “voice of reason” in a community where right wing “this is why we should lock them all up!” mentality abounds.

Hope – that time can be found in busy days to watch small faces who may not have words for the confusion they feel. Time to observe changes in play – to see the wonderings played out in microscopic detail. Time to sit close and reassure.

The nappy chart will wait. The paper plate tree will wait. The photoshopped learning story with the stars at the border can sit a little longer while the children sit in our laps, with questions of border protection ringing in their ears on the back of a talk back rant they heard during the drive to child care.

Hope – that we as Education and Care professionals draw our minds, hearts and spirits back to that most fundamental of the Rights of the Child – Article 19, protection.

Additional resources

Pam Linke’s ‘Everyday learning about loss and grief’  is an excellent resource for families and friends and educators of children coping with loss and is available on ECA’s online store.

The resource provides insightful advice assisting our understanding of what loss means to children, as well as outlining positive strategies to help children cope, including:

  • the emotions produced by loss
  • how children understand grief
  • the ways children may respond
  • cultural differences in the ways children may experience grief and loss
  • what parents and carers can do to help children cope.

State and Territory Governments have information and support available for children and families coping with a loss.

You may also wish to follow links below to some other resources. Families may wish to seek professional support and advice.

Other resources

Where to go for help

 

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Freya Lucas

With over 15 years experience working in a variety of Education and Care services, and qualifications in Early Childhood, primary teaching, and Library and Information Management, Freya is currently employed as the Manager of Early Childhood at McArthur. For over 40 years McArthur has provided multi-specialist recruitment services that deliver exceptional career outcomes for candidates and outstanding business results for clients. Passionate about the possibilities that can be ignited in the hearts and minds of educators through connecting them with information and resources, Freya is on a continuing journey of professional learning. Believing that, as Aristotle said, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" Freya is always seeking ways to build and enrich genuine and reciprocal relationships with others, and to foster, facilitate and grow lasting and powerful connections between educators, children, families and communities. Freya was the recipient of the 2013 Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship for her work “Many spokes, same hub”, which outlined the potential and possibility to be found in deep partnership between Universities, Early Childhood organisations and libraries, and has published articles in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

2 thoughts on “From Adelaide, to Paris, with hope”

    Thanks so much for the resources!

    I have watched my little niece as she caught glimpses of it on the news at night and it has really impacted her. She mentioned it the day after and asked ‘are those people sad?’.

    There should be a greater focus on grief and loss in early childhood education. It’s scary how early trauma can set in with young ones when we over look it and think it wont affect them as they don’t even understand.

    Clare McHugh says:

    Thoughtful post Freya. Thank you. ABC Radio National’s Life Matters program held an interesting discussion on this topic this morning too – talking to kids about terror. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/talking-to-kids-about-terror/6945668
    Another resource and one that can be downloaded to listen later in the car or using those ubiquitous earbuds you mention.

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