Having a Super Time at School
Monday, August 15 marked the first day of school for patients at Shriners Children’s Texas. This year’s theme? Superheroes!
Teacher Sheryl Bucsanyi helps patients, both outpatient and long-term, through whatever kind of schooling they need while receiving treatment at the hospital. The classroom, located on the fourth floor of the hospital, is packed with maps, artwork, photos, books and other learning tools to help patients stay on track while they are away from their home and school.
Bucsanyi teaches patients both at Shriners Children’s Texas and the University of Texas Medical Branch, across the street. Her curriculum is often individualized and unique, with Bucsanyi sometimes teaching one or two students at a time.
The aim of the classroom is to make learning as fun as possible, and make it a place for patients to escape the sometimes stressful path to healing. Many patients take the opportunity to improve or even learn English. Sometimes the classroom offers continuing education to patients who may have left school at an early age.
“Every month I introduce themes, and will make learning packets to go with that theme. For an example, we’ve had Valentines, Under the Sea, Star Wars, Frozen, Paw Patrol and Harry Potter themes. My role is to inspire, motivate and exercise the mind through a fun, creative and safe learning environment,” Bucsanyi said.
Patients are treated with individual care and, as much as possible, are encouraged to keep up with their regular curriculum. If students are not currently enrolled in a school program, they can still take lessons and participate in activities in the classroom.
“I keep in contact with their home school counselors, teachers and assistant principals. I keep a record of attendance and progress,” Bucsanyi said.
The classroom is open to patients aged 5 to 17. Patients don’t need to already be enrolled in a school. They can just visit the school and sign up.
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