Hi. Education is far from my mind as I write this as the developing events throughout the state of Queensland consume our thoughts.
It is times like these that we truly realise those things that are most precious. As we all see the devastation of property, towns, the very landscape around us; I can not get out of my head the images that my mind creates of the moments these people lived through while battling for their own and their families lives.
I, unfortunately, have that type of imagination that makes me think about if I was in some of these horrendous situations with my 3 children. When I received the automated emergency call to my home phone and mobile on Tuesday and heard that terrible emergency noise (I’ll always think of it as the cyclone alert that I was terrified of as a child), my mind raced with “How would I save the children?” Even though my house is high and there is no chance of flooding, my mind still went there. At the time we were totally cut off in our road in Burpengary (north of Brisbane) and I had just seen the incredibly distressing scenes of Toowoomba’s catastrophic weather event. Could that happen here? I thought. I started to think of a plan of how I would get the kids on the roof. I even packed my emergency kit and bottled water.
My heart goes out to those people who have lost loved ones, particularly children, as they had no time to think or plan. As much as we want to protect children from any danger, and as safe as we try to make their lives, freak events will cause the inevitable…lost of life.
My children are very much feeling these events, as much as we adults are. Even my 1 year old, the happiest baby on the planet, is grissly and knows something is not right. Children in care, particulartly in Queensland, are going to be feeling these events. Children are so intune and intuitive, it often takes me by suprise how much they truely comprehend.
Educators, you are going to be needing to help children understand these events. Disaster, death and dying is never a great conversation to have with a child, particularly when it does not just “happen to old people”. My 5 year old just in the last 2 months has been grappling with the topic of death, due to events that have happened very close to our family. I have noted when she is dramatising and playing, a stuffed toy, doll or imaginary character is dying during the game. Some times it is a mum or dad, sometimes it is a child. She is obviously working though her understanding and feelings about what can happen. I feel this is very important for her to do. We have also had many discussions recently about life and death.
These are difficult topics, but be prepared for them. Discuss with parents how they would like these issues discussed. Always wait until the children bring it up. Observe and listen closely to their play and conversations. Plan what you are going to say, as in the next few days, weeks and months this will be an issue for many, and the children, unfortunately, can not always be protected.
My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones, remember we are all here to support you at this time.