Grief music classes for bereaved children

Amber Beetge, William Orr, Gemma Stoddart, Jessica McLennan, Jakub Radomski, Winnie Nguyen, Nadia Campbell and Curtis Morrison with Fischy musician Raine Clarke. Picture: Esme Allen
Amber Beetge, William Orr, Gemma Stoddart, Jessica McLennan, Jakub Radomski, Winnie Nguyen, Nadia Campbell and Curtis Morrison with Fischy musician Raine Clarke. Picture: Esme Allen
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A CITY primary school has piloted a series of music and movement-based “grief classes” aimed at helping children open up about their feelings.

Eight P6-7 pupils at Granton Primary took part in the Seasons for Growth project from children’s charity Fischy Music, which saw them work through the effects of bereavement and family separation through song.

Rather than the conventional approach of referral to a counsellor, youngsters were encouraged to deal with their emotions in the presence of class peers.

Charity leaders say they are planning to take the sessions to other schools across the Capital and Scotland.

Project manager Suzanne Butler said: “You can tell that the children are carrying a pretty heavy emotional burden – they’ve been writing their own songs to reflect their own experiences.

“They can open up quite revealingly about what they have been going through – but this isn’t just about being touchy-feely. Children often find it helpful to open up to other children about what they’re going through.”

Organisers have been using the four seasons as a template for structuring their eight-week programme of music, singing and other activity sessions.

The project has been welcomed by staff at Granton, who said it was having a marked impact on pupils suffering loss or family break-up.

Principal teacher Morag Innes said: “Two of the children in particular were really down and finding it difficult to open up, but have become brighter and happier – it’s as though a weight has been lifted.”