CfC FP ObjectiveEarly learning 
Delivered toChildren aged 6 to 18 who have experienced family loss or change. 
Delivered byTeachers, social workers, counselors, psychologists other professionals/para-professionals and volunteers endorsed by a school or agency. 
Delivery settingSchool-based; community-based 
Program developerGood Grief, MacKillop Family Services 

About the program

Seasons for Growth is an education program that builds the resilience and wellbeing of children who have recently experienced loss due to death, family separation or migration. Seasons for Growth aims to support young people to understand their feelings, help them develop skills for coping, restore self-confidence and educate them about the grief process.  

Program structure

Seasons for Growth is delivered to small groups of 4 to 7 children and facilitated by an adult ‘companion’. The program has 4 age levels: 

  • 6 to 8 years
  • 9 to 10 years
  • 11 to 12 years
  • 13 to 18 years.

The program is offered over 8 x 40 to 50-minute sessions plus a celebration and reconnector session (held 6 to 8 weeks after completion). The structure of the program is based on the metaphor of four seasons reflecting Worden’s four stages of grief (2009).

Each session has a specific focus and session outcomes incorporate discussion, stories, drawing, role-play and guided meditation.

Stormbirds: Good Grief also offers an adaptation of Seasons of Growth called Stormbirds. Stormbirds supports children and young people to adapt to experiences of change, loss and grief resulting from natural disasters. The program is delivered over four sessions to small groups of children aged 6-14 years old. Visit the Good Grief website for more information. 

Facilitator training

Participation in facilitator (‘companion’) training is required. Two-day training workshops are held regularly across Australia, see the MacKillop Family Services website for more details.

A detailed facilitator manual and workbooks with structured session plans are available. 


Seasons for Growth online training (includes program manual): $750

Seasons for Growth face to face training: $850

Stormbirds training: price on application 

Evaluation and effectiveness

The Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University conducted an empowerment and participatory evaluation of the program in 2011 (Newell & Moss, 2011). Pre and post-program qualitative survey data was collected from across 57 Seasons for Growth groups in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland. The study included 239 children, 30 parents and 44 facilitators.

Responses from all groups (children, parents, companions) were positive with parent responses corroborating children’s views. Children reported very high levels of satisfaction and felt they could trust the group companion, felt supported, and felt they were able to safely express themselves. The majority of children and parents nominated a variety of ways that the program had helped them including:

  • building understanding and skills
  • improving emotional wellbeing
  • enabling participants to express themselves
  • strengthening participants social and support networks.

Pre- and post-testing results showed statistically significant improvements in children's:

  • emotional literacy
  • understandings of grief/change (e.g. recognising that ‘its ok to cry when you’re sad’)
  • emotional wellbeing
  • ability to express their views/feelings. 


Newell, S., & Moss, A. (2011). Supporting children and young people through change, loss and grief: an evaluation of the Seasons for Growth program. Southern Cross University: Centre for Children and Young People.