How school libraries adapted when Queen Elizabeth died

FILE - Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcony during the Platinum Jubilee Festival at Buckingham Palace in London on June 5, 2022, in the last four days of celebrations marking the Platinum Jubilee.

FILE – Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcony during the Platinum Jubilee Festival at Buckingham Palace in London on June 5, 2022, in the last four days of celebrations marking the Platinum Jubilee.


When Mindy Selby, a Fort Worth Elementary School librarian, arrived at work Thursday morning, she hadn’t heard the news that Queen Elizabeth II was “under medical supervision” at Balmoral Castle.

Hours later, Buckingham Palace confirmed it in a statement Britain’s longest-serving monarch has died at the age of 96.

“As soon as the news came out today, I began removing my books that show Elizabeth as the current Queen of the United Kingdom,” Selby said on Thursday.

Selby, who works at Hubbard Heights Elementary, used this moment as a “small lesson” for students on how to update libraries whenever major historical events occur.

“Otherwise, I will not give them the correct information,” she said. She anticipates more questions once students have had time to process and hear more about the historical event over the weekend.

In the coming days, Selby and hundreds of other librarians at Fort Worth schools will complete this comprehensive process – as students learn about the historic moment Queen Elizabeth II is going through. Other books you’ll need to weed include those that show Charles and William in their now outdated roles.

Teacher: The student will not be “shocked” by the king’s death

In Arlington, most of the day’s classes were completed when the official announcement was made. But Jeff Beck, head of social studies at Martin High School, said there are some lessons he sees for students when they return to class on Friday.

He said, “The Queen of England is a head of state, but she is not a head of government, while in the United States, we have no distinction between these two things.” “In the United States, we expect our superiors to do the ceremonial things in addition to the actual administration.”

Beck said other teachers, including those in world history classes, might discuss “twentieth-century decolonization,” which occurred during Elizabeth’s 70-year reign.

The British Empire was at its height just a few years before the queen’s birth, laying claim to more than a quarter of all land on earth. countries From India to Kenya separated during the twentieth century, becoming independent.

But Beck said the distance and old age of the Queen’s death make the event less relevant to local students than recent historical events in the United States.

“Maybe its effect won’t be like some of the other things…we talked about (as) The heart of the Roe v. Wade case Things like that,” he said.

“Children will not be shocked by the death of a 96-year-old woman,” he added. “It wouldn’t be like it was some kind of unexpected tragedy.”

Gwen Perrod, who has taught deaf and hard of hearing students in Fort Worth and is a Democratic candidate for the Texas Senate, He said the moment would have a different significance in each semester.

She told Star-Telegram: “…I would like to point out the historical significance of the British Sign Language Bill that has been approved by the Queen.” “Being a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing, I feel it would be helpful to address this aspect of history.”

Mary Jo Green, a gardening teacher in Fort Worth who is from the United Kingdom, said she expects questions from students and teachers alike when she goes to campus because of her accent.

She told Star-Telegram that even in the store a few hours after the announcement was made, she was asked.

How do young children deal with the death of celebrities?

For younger children, the deaths of leaders or celebrities and other events that involve great emotion can be difficult.

Audrey Rowland, founder and CEO of Green Space Learning in Fort Worth, said the role of early educators is to use clear language and answer questions.

“We want to use plain language,” she said, “The Queen is dead.” We don’t want to explain the history of the property or its role unless we’re talking to primary school students. This is someone who most people know has passed away and a lot of people will be sad about this.”

Most importantly, teachers and parents should accept their children’s feelings and reactions, and not try to train them to feel “the right thing,” Roland said.

“We want kids to develop a real emotional range,” she said. “So we want the kids to be authentic and we can trust that they’ll come to the right place.”

Knowing how to express feelings is difficult for younger children, as they are still learning what their feelings are and how they feel.

“Especially those under 6 years old, they need to focus more on understanding how they actually feel about things before they care about ‘how my feelings about things affect others,'” Roland said. And … really identifying these things before they begin to shape these things into what is socially expected.”

Marsha Richardson, Director of the School Counseling and Mental Health Program At the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School, Put together a guide for parents when talking to their children about the death of a famous person.

“A lot of feelings may arise about death, so parents may want to check their feelings first,” she said. “It’s hard to understand the process of grieving for someone you don’t know personally.”

Some suggestions include following the child’s footsteps and accepting that they “may not have experienced loss or death, so watching adults and even an entire community or country in mourning can be confusing.”

“Let the child come to you and allow them a space to share their feelings and thoughts about the event/loss,” she said in the guide. “Let them know that it is okay for them to feel what they are feeling and that you are there for them to talk about what they are going through.”

This story was originally published September 8, 2022 6:00 p.m.

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Isaac Windes covers early childhood education as part of the Star-Telegram Crossroads Lab. The job is funded with the help of the Morris Foundation. Winds is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Media at Arizona State University. Before coming to the Star-Telegram, he wrote about schools and colleges in Southeast Texas for the Beaumont Enterprise. Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Please reach out to your questions about early childhood education. Email: or call or text (817) 668-5449. Follow Isaac on Twitter @isaacdwindes

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