Hospitalized Pediatric Patients Start the School Year in Rambam Classrooms
More than 100 hospitalized children and youth participated in classes on the first day of school in classrooms at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital. Several new educational components are being introduced this year, including a sailing class for the older teens. September 3, 2019 – The school year in Israel starts on September 1st. While most students began the year in their regular classrooms, hospitalized children faced a different reality. Thanks to the Haifa-based BRACHA Education Center, the young patients in Rambam Health Care Campus’ Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital can keep up with their peers, attending classes in the hospital’s designated school classrooms—each of which, are equipped by the Ministry of Education. “This school within a hospital offers a solution for hospitalized children between the ages of 3–21 in accordance with what each child can handle, and in coordination with their teachers from their regular schools,” explains Elana Levi, Director of BRACHA, which serves Bnei Zion, Rambam, and Carmel hospitals and is named for their Hebrew abbreviations. Like most other Israeli schools, the BRACHA schools adhere to the standards and curricula set by the Ministry of Education. Classrooms for sick children have been around for more than 30 years, and Levi has been managing the program for the last 17 years. There are nine classrooms in Rambam’s pediatric hospital, located in departments such as Surgery, Oncology, Dialysis, Eating Disorders, and more, and each class has the same group of teachers throughout the school year. The same class subjects are offered in each classroom, and include subjects like math, English, computers, robotics, cinema, and so on. “We will do whatever we can to help keep the children from falling behind in school,” notes Levi. Whenever a child joins the class, regardless of their age, the teacher is required to create a schedule for them in the school’s computer system, which Levi can then track. In addition to regular classes, there are also enrichment activities, such as a weekly photography club. Last year, a photography exhibit was held, displaying the photos taken by the club’s young participants. Plans are also in place this year to offer the children instruction in home economics while they are hospitalized. This year, a number of new educational components have been added at Rambam. The psychiatric unit now has classroom space for up to 12 children. One classroom is located just outside of the unit, and within the unit itself, two hospital rooms have been converted into another classroom. As with the school’s other classrooms, a team of teachers is responsible for each of the classes mentioned above. In the unit for eating disorders, classes are offered three days a week to students aged 15–18. The teachers work closely with the unit’s staff members to ensure that they remain aware of each patient’s situation. Levi hopes that patients suffering from bulimia will take part in the new sailing course, described below. “We try to offer whatever they want to learn,” she says.
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