Helping Sick Kids and Their Families Carry on with Their Lives
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals’ School Program helps kids continue their education while they’re undergoing treatment.
On both sides of the Bay, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals hold classes for children from kindergarten through 12th grade and for special-education students of all ages.
Part of our Child Life Services department, the program is staffed with credentialed teachers, many from the San Francisco and Oakland school districts. When young patients are too sick to come to the classroom, or they're having a bone marrow transplant or other treatment that requires isolation, the teachers bring lessons and engaging activities like poetry-writing straight to their bedsides.
On our San Francisco campus, the classroom is called the Marie Wattis School. It’s in session every weekday year-round and serves more than 60 students a day. Here, Child Life teacher and schoolroom coordinator Erika Shue (second from right) leads students Yonel (left) and Phyllis (right), and volunteers Wendy and Chelsea (center) in an interactive game of “Hedbanz.” The teachers coordinate with the kids’ schools to help them continue their studies during hospitalization. The school also provides a place to have fun, learn social skills, stay positive, and for a little while, feel normal.