Dutch Settlement Elementary

Message for DSES Families

Good evening,


The tragedy which occurred over the weekend in our province is difficult to understand. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by this heartbreak.  


As we move forward, I would like to reassure you that we are here to support our families the best we can. I want you to know there are supports available through the school, should you require them. Please reach out to your child’s teacher or to me and let us know how we can assist. We can call upon professional supports such as guidance counsellor (Wendy Johnson), social workers (Rachel Desrocher) and psychologist (Meg Taylor) to help.

As guardians you may want to look for and read about information regarding how to speak to your child about traumatic incidents. You can access some of this type of information on the HRCE website by clicking the following link:  .

There are also community supports to help those who are struggling. The Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT (686868).  You can reach the Mobile Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-429-8167.

Here are some suggestions for guardians to help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears:

Reassure children that they are safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.

Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Some children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.

Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.

Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school/community. Discuss the safety strategies at home and in the community.

Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.


Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.


Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise.


The Dutch Settlement Community is one that has strong relationships and values of taking care of one another and our neighbors. We are all connected. Let’s do what we have always done well, help and support one another as we mourn, heal and move forward.  I encourage you to contact me or the school staff if we can be of any support to you.   We will move forward and get through this together.


Please stay safe.


Terry Barro


Dutch Settlement Elementary