Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Daryl Canham

Second Advisor

Chialing Mao


bereavement, death, elementary teachers, grief, mourning


Death and grief are not frequently discussed with children as a normal part of life. Previous studies show that teachers are not comfortable discussing the subject in the classrooms. As a trusted source, school nurses are able to help school staff recognize potential signs and symptoms of death and grief with a student dealing with a loss, providing information, educational resources and support. The purpose of this study was to identify the attitudes and perceptions about death and grief of Catholic School teachers working among elementary school age children kindergarten through eighth grades. A convenience sample of 47 teachers from three Catholic schools located in Northern California were approached and participated in the project. Using a Likert type scale, an anonymous survey about death and grief attitudes and perceptions was given to teachers at a regular staff meeting. Results indicated that the teachers were comfortable discussing death and grief with their students, but were not completely confident in locating information about death and grief or integrating it into the classroom curriculum. In order to help children deal more effectively with death and loss, school nurses need to be more aware of how school staff deal with death and grief, and provide support and resources when needed.