Hospital programs helps educate kids fighting illnesses

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the remaining districts in West Michigan head back to school this week, so do patients at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

News 8 visited the WIZkids classroom to see how the school program keeps kids learning while providing a distraction from treatment. 

“Sometimes this environment can feel overwhelming to adults or children. So, to add things that are normal in their day like play, school, music, all sorts of different things help kind of distract them from the other things that are going on,” Sarah Smith explained to News 8.

Smith is a hospital teacher and school liaison through the Dick and Linda Antonini Hospital School Program.

In addition to holding classroom lessons an hour each weekday, the program offers tutoring and works with a patient’s school to assist the child’s continued education. 

“Often times school gets put on hold, but it doesn’t have to,” Smith said. “I think it’s great for teachers and other students to see their classmates, even though they’re at the hospital, are still using their brains and working with other kids and engaging in lessons that best meet their needs.”

Three patients learned about statistics during News 8’s visit.

Smith added some come and go depending on their treatment that day, or video conference in from their hospital room. 

You can watch how the lesson went in the video above and learn more about the hospital’s school program online.  

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