Building Resilience


  • Expressive arts, such as painting and drawing (let children "show” each other their drawings to stimulate discussion)
  • Help students make memory books individually or as a class to give to the family
  • Involve students in simple mourning rituals such as making a wreath from paper flowers
  • Have students make cards for the family
  • Have students publish stories in the classroom of survival in the aftermath of natural disasters (how did they take care of themselves?)
  • Have the class create a mural about their strength and survival
  • Encourage play reenactment with toys, dress-ups, puppets
  • Read aloud, or have children read, stories with similar themes that offer hope for the future
  • Have children bring in newspaper articles about other children from around the world who have experienced similar or different disasters
  • Create a sentence completion assignment that encourages students to express their thoughts and feelings:
    "The hardest part for me was………
    "The scariest part for me was………
    "I found out I was strong when……
  • Hold group discussions utilizing group debriefing skills listed in the clinical section, but remember elementary students will not be able to tolerate as long of a discussion as adolescents. Plan to talk with students for 30 minutes or so, and then move on to an activity. The activity can then generate more discussion.