Kids have been exploring death for some time now. It started with bugs, then in their superhero "bad guy" play, and then snowmen dying (melting) and being resurrected, and now...
family members thought to be dead but then "waking up" because they were simply sleeping.
So naturally, when a puffer fish in my office tank died, it would be a nice, real way to explore concepts of death. So the day after I discovered my poor dead fish in the tank, I made an announcement to the children that after lunchtime we would have a burial for the fish. Children anxiously shared stories about their own fish death experiences and asked me more about why the fish died.
After lunch, we dug a hole in the garden (for the fish's grave) and I took a group of children into my office to net out the dead fish. We brought a shell to carry the dead body to the grave site. I carefully placed the dead fish onto the shell, and began to dry off drips of water that had splattered about.
As we were preparing to leave, Ja announces, "Hey! The fish is trying to say something!" I looked down at the fish and, indeed, the fish was gasping for air. It was alive!!! Lessons in death? FAIL!!!
We put it back into the tank and in an attempt to resuccitate it back to optimal health, gave it some worms to eat and fresh water.
Unfortunately, it did die two days later. Being the weekend and all, I had my own personal burial for the fish.