PITTSBURGH - A free program offered at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC helps to ensure that children hospitalized for extended periods of time don’t fall behind in school.
Instead of a traditional classroom setting, patients are able to learn while in the hospital, even at their bedsides.
“The school program is so important because it allows our patients to continue to learn and continue to develop educationally, so when they get back to school, the transition isn't as difficult,” Raeanna Paterson, the hospital’s librarian and school program coordinator, said.
The program pairs patients who are hospitalized frequently or for long periods of time, like eighth-grader Luke Maeding, with certified teachers.
“We see with Luke that, psychologically, he does so much better when he does all of those normal child activities, like going to school,” Heather Maeding, Luke Maeding’s mother, said.
The hospital contacts each student’s school district to obtain their curriculum.
“We keep them at pace of what they should be doing when they return to school, and that's, it's a relief to them because children do sometimes worry about their school,” teacher Joy Rzecznik said. “We've had kids from Japan. We've had kids from Puerto Rico."
Between 100 and 150 patients will take part in the program this year.
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