While children are in the hospital, we encourage them to continue their education through our School Program. Operated by UCSF Child Life Services, the program is staffed by credentialed teachers and fully accredited by the unified school districts of both San Francisco and Oakland. We have classes for children from kindergarten through 12th grade in our in-house schoolroom, known as the Marie Wattis School at the San Francisco campus. Kids who can't attend classroom sessions receive bedside instruction.

Our School Program serves as a reassuring bridge between home and hospital. By sustaining the part of a child's life that's still healthy and vibrant, it lets kids know they can expect to return to their previous school experience. Our regular and special education teachers offer school activities and programs in math, science and art. They work closely with each child's school to ensure that class requirements are met, and students can receive attendance and school credit for work they complete in the hospital.

Our teachers also serve as liaisons between the hospital and school to support individual needs as kids return to regular classes. And if a patient is unable to return to school after discharge, they help coordinate homebound teaching services.

Special programs

We've partnered with a variety of local organizations to provide ongoing educational programs for children in the hospital. Most of these special guests pay monthly visits to the schoolroom to provide unique hands-on learning experiences for our students. Our regular visitors include:

  • The Exploratorium, a San Francisco science museum, has designed and installed hands-on exhibits throughout UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. This gives our patients and their families opportunities to engage in scientific exploration and discovery. In addition, Exploratorium team members make monthly visits to the hospital schoolrooms in both San Francisco and Oakland to guide students through science and engineering activities.
  • Artists with California Poets in the Schools visit the San Francisco campus to help young patients and their siblings express themselves – bringing voices to their ideas, emotions and creativity. Volunteer poets provide a similar program for patients in Oakland.
  • The California Academy of Sciences provides programs at our San Francisco campus.
  • Play-Well TEKnologies offers engineering instruction using LEGO materials for patients at our Oakland campus.
  • SaveNature.org provides an insect discovery lab for our Oakland patients.
  • The San Francisco Police Department assists with our interactive quiz shows on the hospital's Kaleidoscope channel.
  • The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) offers dog safety education and its Puppy Dog Tales Reading Program for our San Francisco patients.