If your child is receiving treatment for cancer, you may be concerned about him or her keeping up with schoolwork. It’s natural to question how time spent at the hospital might affect your child’s educational development.
The Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering makes school a high priority. As part of a New York City Department of Education program called Hospital Schools, we have several full-time teachers who play an active role in delivering complete care to pediatric patients. For children and teens, school signifies a continuation of normal life, and allows them to keep up with their peers. Our treatment teams consider schooling to be both necessary and therapeutic — school is a child’s work.
Teachers are available to instruct all grades, from kindergarten through high school. Their one-on-one lessons are coordinated with your child’s school and/or home instructor, based on the regular school curriculum, and often using books and materials from your child’s school. Teachers can administer exams, grade assignments, send progress reports to the school, and help your child prepare for standardized tests. When the time is right, they can also help your child transition back to the school routine.
All of this takes place around your child’s treatment schedule, either at the bedside for inpatients and outpatients, or during time between appointments. In addition, Memorial Sloan Kettering offers teleconferencing with the classroom in your child’s school, if the school has video link capabilities.
To keep the school environment as authentic as possible, we recognize milestones during the school year, including certain holidays. In the spring, we host a Pediatric Prom for patients of all ages. For current and former patients who are high school seniors, we hold a Pediatric Convocation recognizing academic achievements.
On many school holidays, we also offer events for Specially Important Brothers and Sisters (SIBS). All siblings are welcome and encouraged to participate.
Each year, Memorial Sloan Kettering celebrates the high school graduation of current and former pediatric patients.
Returning to School After Treatment
Returning to the classroom after treatment can be both exciting and scary for a child or young adult. Explore our tips for parents, teachers, classmates, and returning students.
Resources for Teachers & Parents
Explore these online education resources for teachers and parents of children and young adults with cancer.