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South African Journal of Childhood Education

On-line version ISSN 2223-7682
Print version ISSN 2223-7674


HORN, Jacqueline  and  GOVENDER, Sumeshni. Evaluating a grief programme offered in primary schools: An Appreciative Inquiry. SAJCE [online]. 2019, vol.9, n.1, pp.1-11. ISSN 2223-7682.

BACKGROUND: Death and loss are inevitable, and life changes profoundly for those left behind. A General Household Survey by Statistics South Africa indicated that 94.2% of orphans aged 7-18 years were still attending school. With no parental and often familial support, learners often had to turn to their teachers for support. Vukuzakhe, a non-governmental organisation, saw the need for a grief programme in schools. AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate how the school-based grief programme is perceived by different stakeholders (grieving children, educators and programme facilitators. SETTING: The grief programme is being implemented in four primary schools in Underberg and Himeville, rural KwaZulu-Natal, and this study will conduct an evaluation at all four sites. METHODS: Appreciative Inquiry, based on a four-dimensional cycle, was used to evaluate a grief programme offered in selected primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Three stakeholder groups (grief support programme facilitators [n = 4], grieving children [n = 6] and educators [n = 2]) from four schools were asked three open-ended questions to ascertain the programme's value RESULTS: Nine key themes were identified: healing, insight, relationships, growth, skills, support, enjoyment, collaboration and value of the programme. All stakeholders noted positive outcomes resulting from participation in the programme and held it in high regard. CONCLUSION: Improvements for its future development were suggested and recommendations made for its further implementation at schools throughout South Africa.

Keywords : grief; bereavement; programme evaluation; Appreciative Inquiry; learner intervention.

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