Many kids view going to school as a dreaded daily task. For patients in Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH), the schoolroom program not only allows them to keep up with their studies, it can provide a welcome distraction from their health problems.
Andra Thorstad and Marty Hoehn work with students on a wide range of school subjects daily at JPCH. As teachers within the Saskatoon Public School Division, they both recognize the importance of providing school-age patients an opportunity to maintain some normalcy when it comes to daily routine.
“The kids are already under pressure due to the health issues they are facing,” said Thorstad. “If helping them keep up with their schoolwork reduces their stress level, then it is all worth it…. Teaching in the hospital is a very unique and rewarding experience.”
Supported by the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation (JPCHF) and donor Grant McGrath, the schoolroom fosters a supportive learning environment. The JPCH teachers are in touch with each patient’s teachers to ensure continuity in lesson plans. They usually work with individual students between 30 to 60 minutes daily, but recognize the need for flexibility to work around care schedules.
“Kids can come to the schoolroom and meet with us here, or we will visit them in their room as well,” stated Hoehn. “Sometimes the diversion of doing some schoolwork just helps them forget about being a patient for awhile.”