Research Projects

Aoife Gallagher

Current PhD Student

Supporting Bereaved Children in Primary School and Early Years Services: policy, practice and lived experiences

This research seeks to explore how personnel in early years, primary school and other child-centred settings respond to bereavement and grief in children (up to age 8) and the extent to which current and potential support services can help them to respond in the most productive and effective ways. While there is some research and innovatory practice in relation to bereavement amongst primary school children and adolescents, there has been little practice development and minimal research in an Irish context in relation to children under 8 who are likely to be in early years services, in contact with early years professionals and primary school teachers.

The projected outcome of this project is to gain a better theoretical and empirical understanding of younger children’s experiences of grief and bereavement.  It will also explore how adults working in a professional relationship with children, most specifically in the early years and early primary school settings, but also other child-centred settings such as after-school care and home-based childcare, can best provide relevant and effective support to children who experience bereavement and grief.  Project outcomes will make a unique contribution to the literature on Irish children’s experiences of bereavement and grief; and will assist in the production of a sound evidence base on which to base professional support, interventions or service provision in this field.


2014                “Professionalisation and Emerging Services for Suicide”

2015                “A systematic review of interventions and supports available to children bereaved of a loved one”

2015                  Sligo University Hospital Annual Conference

2015                  Sligo University Hospital Annual Conference

2017                  Social Care Ireland Conference

2017                  Early Childhood Ireland Research & Practice Seminar

2017                  IT Sligo Postgraduate Research Conference

2017                  Irish Foster Care Association Conference

2017                  Sligo University Hospital Annual Conference

2018                  ‘A Child’s World’ Conference, Aberystwyth University, Wales             


2017: Assisted in providing information for the development of an information booklet entitled ‘Helping children and adolescents through bereavement and grief’, created by Sean Pellegrini, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Sligo