Many early elementary teachers question what is appropriate to share with their students about the day and what its observance means. Here are some things that may help you in preparing for talking with your students:
Certainly it is important to take into consideration the age of your students. Ask what they know from the start. Enough time has passed that you will likely have some children that don’t know anything about the day. However, others may have family members that were lost that day and they may know more than you would expect.
There is no need to go into detail of all the horrible things that happened or the number of people killed; don’t show photos or videos to young children. Keep it simple, remembering that you don’t want to scare them or make them feel unsafe. Talk about the brave people that went to help the injured that day. If children make statements of being afraid, you can tell them that lots of things are done to keep them safe every day by their parents, police, etc. Choose examples that they can relate with, like lock down drills at school and more security at airports.
Talk about the things that people do to remember and honor those who died such as flying the American flag at half-staff. Some observe a moment of silence or prayer for those that lost their lives. Some people participate in some sort of community service. To find volunteer programs available in your area you can go to https://911day.org/volunteer
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Think about an appropriate activity students could do in remembrance of the day such as having students draw pictures and write thank you notes to firefighters and police officers in your neighborhood in thanks for keeping your community safe.