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Navigating Grief with Dr. Sherry Walling


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With Rosh Hashanah right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about some of my family’s cherished High Holiday rituals.

We light candles while reciting meaningful prayers. We savor challah bread dipped in honey. We try out new activities. 

These treasured rituals bring us together to celebrate the New Year and create a special sense of connection among my family. 

Rituals have the power to ground us during holiday celebrations. 

But rituals aren’t just for celebration. They can also serve us when we’re experiencing grief and loss.

Rituals are a powerful tool that can bring you peace and help you navigate a loss—either a personal one or a collective loss experienced by your school community. 

Whether it’s the death of a colleague or saying goodbye to a favorite family who’s leaving your school, you can create a special ritual to honor them and acknowledge that they will no longer be present at your center. 

It’s so important to acknowledge any loss because avoiding it will only cause more shame and suffering for everyone. 

As the school leader, you play a key role in helping your staff navigate the inevitable ups and downs of your center. And I want to support you in that journey. 

This week on the podcast, I talk with Dr. Sherry Walling about how to find wholeness after loss and the ways you can support your team to overcome grief. You’ll learn how to offer connection and provide a glimmer of hope in the midst of sadness.

We’ll also take a look at the importance of understanding your own capacity to listen. You’ll learn when and how to defer a conversation to another time when you can be completely present and listen fully.

Join us for a conversation about:

  • Understanding why avoiding the loss is worse than confronting it
  • Recognizing the importance of rituals and traditions in overcoming grief
  • Redefining what it means to be present when you’re grappling with a loss
  • Knowing when and how to share access to mental health resources

If you need ideas for creating a safe space that will invite your school community to share their stories of loss, you won’t want to miss this episode.


Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

Connect further with Dr. Sherry Walling at:

Instagram and Twitter: @sherrywalling


School leaders like you will always be challenged to model healthy behaviors for your staff. It’s not easy, but it’s possible—especially when you have a community of like-minded leaders and directors to lean on.  

If you’re ready to connect with a community of your peers who know what it’s like to lead early childcare centers, this might be the right time to join our Owner’s HQ or Director’s Inner Circle programs. Inside you’ll find the support and guidance you need to grow as a school leader.

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Non-Apple Devices

More about the show:

If you are an Early Childhood director or owner, prepare to transform your school and life with the Schools of Excellence podcast. Tune in each week to learn from Chanie Wilschanski, the founder and host of the Schools of Excellence Podcast and a mom of 4 little kids. Each episode will be packed with tools and strategies – equipping you to build schools with higher staff retention, teacher motivation, parent partnership, collaborative culture, and beautiful quality of life.

Every week, Chanie shares the truth about the journey to excellence, the strategies that are working TODAY, and the mindset about the critical decisions and choices that you make every day which impact yourself, your teachers, parents, family, and children who you serve every day.

In addition to weekly solo episodes, she’ll also be inviting industry leaders and the changing makers of the landscape of education to give listeners the inside knowledge of what it takes to sustain excellence.

Don’t miss an episode, subscribe today for everything you need for your leadership journey!