Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Mollie Welsh Kruger

Abstract

Death is a complicated and emotionally weighty subject. Therefore, discussing it can be taboo in early childhood classrooms. Although this is meant to protect children, the lack of discussion limits their mental and emotional processing of bereavement and ultimately undermines their understanding of death. After teaching in a Pre-K classroom with a terminally ill reptile, the author was inspired to write a children’s book about the death of a class pet. The text reviews typical developmental milestones for five-year-olds, the target age of the book. Fives are at an age where their frameworks for understanding the world are shifting; therefore, this is an appropriate age to discuss death directly. In the following section, the author researched the field of children’s literature for picture books that address death. Such books have the important job of guiding children and adults through these difficult, but necessary, conversations. The paper concludes that the author’s book would be a worthy addition to this collection of literature, as no books that specifically address the death of a class pet were found.

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