Back to School Programs

Boston Children's Hospital's Back to School Program aims to meet the needs of children and their families who are transitioning back to school after treatment for a serious illness. This program is designed to address common concerns that children and families may have about returning to school.

Child Life Specialists, Pediatric Nurses and Social Workers develop an individualized based program depending on the age and developmental level of the child while taking into consideration the school population and setting. Children's staff work with families and schools to design an optimal back to school program for each child's particular situation.

Read a first-person perspective about RJ Agostinelli's return to school after treatment for leukemia and watch a video of his first day back.

How does the Back to School Program work?

This program may include a phone consultation with the school, an information packet which can be sent to the child's teacher or a school visit from your child's care team. These visits are designed to alleviate any anxiety the classmates may feel about the child's return and to encourage the sensitivity and support of the child's classmates, teachers and other school personnel.

Each school visit is arranged with the child's health care team. The team tailors the presentation to the child's classmates and school staff.

During the presentation, we discuss disease, treatment, side effects and medical procedures and the emotional aspects of having cancer. We also attempt to remove any myths or misconceptions about having cancer.

Our teaching tools vary, depending on the developmental level of the children. Options include:

  • Videos
  • Power point presentations
  • Puppet shows
  • Teaching dolls
  • Written materials

Programs offered

  • Visits offered to families living 1-2 hour distance drive from Boston Children's Hospital
  • Informational packets offered to those families unable to schedule Back to School visits, along with phone consultations
  • Consultation with school administrators
  • Phone consultations to educate and advocate for educational services with school environment
  • School visit may be available for specific individuals
  • Hospital Educational Services
  • Tutoring is available through Education, Inc. contact Child Life Services for more information (617-355-6551)

Back to School visits

Dialysis and Renal Transplant Program
Johanna Black MS, CCLS

Pediatric Transplant Center
Kirsten Fowler MS, CCLS

Consultation with School Administrators

Dialysis and Renal Transplant Program
Roberta Hoffman LICSW

Kate Quint LCSW

Back to School Contacts

Back to School Visits
Children's Hospital
6 West

Children's Hospital
6 North

Children's Hospital
9 North

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Jimmy Fund Clinic

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Radiation Oncology

Workshops for School Personnel
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Pediatric Psychosocial Unit

School Liaison Program
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Pediatric Psychosocial Unit