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Death Education

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Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology
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Any combination of planned learning experiences that help individuals, groups, or communities gain the information and skills they need to deal with end of life decisions, grief, and related goal-setting constitutes death education. Within a school context, death education is sometimes incorporated into a health class that addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and social dimensions of health in ways that are tailored to students’ age and developmental levels. Sometimes death education that is primarily focused on grief counseling occurs as a “teachable moment” in response to a death in the school community or some large cultural event such as the attacks on September 11.

Topics frequently included in formal death education include preparing wills, living wills, and medical directives; life and health insurance options; hospice; stages of death and dying; stages of grief; developmental understandings of death; funeral options; planning one's memorial service or writing one's...

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Suggested Reading

  • Kubler-Ross, E. (1997). Death: The final stage of growth. New York, NY: Town stone.

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  • Scribner Moody, R. (1989). The light beyond. New York: Bantam Books.

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Suggested Resources

  • Association for Death Education and Counseling— The Association for Death Education and Counseling is an international organization dedicated to promoting excellence in death education, care of the dying, grief counseling and research in thanatology. Based on quality research and theory, the association provides information, support, and resources to its multicultural, multidisciplinary membership and to the public.

  • National Center for Death Education— = 307: The National Center for Death Education (NCDE) located at Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts is an educational center dedicated to promoting knowledge and understanding in the field of thanatology. NCDE aims to help people enhance their own awareness of death as well as provide them with the resources to support the dying and grieving of all ages.

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Wooley, S.F. (2010). Death Education. In: Clauss-Ehlers, C.S. (eds) Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology. Springer, Boston, MA.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-0-387-71798-2

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