Marmalade and Buttercup are laid to rest…


On Wednesday, the programme for day was changed to accommodate what occurred on Tuesday with the ducklings that died. It was clear that children were moved by the duckling that was struggling to survive. Once it was removed from the water they continued to ask about it and when it died they wanted to see it, touch it, talk about it. So today we created time for a duckling funeral. This was something that the children expressed interest in doing yesterday, but in my desire to keep the designed programme on track I did not make space for it to happen. I found it interesting to reflect on how often we adults so such things to ourselves and to children. Something emotionally powerful occurs and we keep on moving forward rather than stopping to acknowledge and process the experience.

We scheduled the funeral for 1:30, during lunch break. Participation was optional. Most of the children decided to participate. We came together as a group and I started by asking who had been to a funeral. Children shared their experiences and then we talked about what we needed to have for a funeral. The older group had already come up with some ideas in the morning meeting. Ella had already written a speech!  The other ideas included – grave diggers, pall bearers, tomb stone makers, flower pickers, choir to sing and coffin makers. Next the children volunteered for different roles. The process was swift! They were so enthusiastic about it all we were ready for the funeral by 2:00!

Marmalade and Buttercup in their coffins

The funeral procession – Micah and Sankara were pall bearers

The tombstone with Layla adding a card

Luca giving the funeral speech written by Ella

A very joyful choir – Gidon, Joshua and Sammy

In fact the whole process of the funeral was filled with energy, enthusiasm, laughter and happiness. It was interesting to me that children would be so happy throughout the experience. I am always learning from them during these programmes. This time it was about the importance of recognizing what has happened and focusing on it, instead of being worried that I should somehow protect them from an experience which I was afraid they would find upsetting, like the death of 2 very cute ducklings. So the movement of water has become about the movement of life…


2 thoughts on “Marmalade and Buttercup are laid to rest…

  1. Thank you for the important work you are doing, and for being open to what children need on so many levels. We can all afford to consider this in the ways that we engage with children – in our teaching, in theatre, and in family life. A far more holistic approach, and one which allows us to be fully present with our children and learn from them…

  2. Hi Yvette! Thanks so much for the positive feedback about the programme we are running this week. That is what the programme aims to achieve so it is great to know others feel we are reaching our goal…

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