School in the hospital has three major benefits: it gives the patients a regular routine which helps to pass the days; it helps distract from the aches and pains of everyday hospital life, and it provides a critical and necessary opportunity to help the students keep up with their studies back home. It also pulls the students out of their rooms and places them in a social atmosphere. While we are staying at the Shriners Hospital, Benjamin is expected to go to school 5 days a week. He goes from 9:00 – 11:00 every day when he breaks for lunch and returns from 1:00 – 2:45. He is expected to be dressed normally for school; he cannot come in pajamas because he is not sick. His teachers do keep a very close eye on him to ensure that he is not feeling pain or other distractions that might interfere with his learning. Going to school actually makes for an incredibly busy day for him.
There are two teachers in Ben’s school – one teaches English and the other French. Ben’s teachers back in Alberta have done an amazing job in providing us with assignments and projects for Ben to work on over the next few months. We hope this will help him keep somewhat caught up with his class back home. His teacher here is equally helpful in ensuring that Benjamin works to the best of his ability. These teachers here take accommodation to the next level. They are constantly interrupted by doctors, nurses, OTs, PTs, etc. Students can be whisked away at a moments notice. Our teachers call in specialists when needed – this morning they were calling OT when I left because they didn’t like how Ben was sitting in his wheelchair. They deal with aches and pains while teaching spelling and math. They are an intrinsic part of our healthcare team.
Currently there are only three students at the school, and one of those is only there for mornings. Of course this changes weekly, but school is only offered to the long-term patients, so there are not that many students. In the playroom next door, Child Life also offers an early education program in both French and English for patients who are not yet in Grade one.
Oh….I forgot to mention…there is no school on Friday afternoons EVER! That is our popcorn and movie afternoon to celebrate the week.