Children with cancer often have difficulty returning to school after their initial diagnosis or prolonged hospital stays. This difficulty is frequently not due to medical complications, but rather because children fear teasing by their classmates due to changing appearances, being anxious about keeping up with their work, and feeling isolated from their peers. To make this transition easier, the STAR program was created to provide more comprehensive and consistent communication between the cancer patient and his/her school. When a patient is away from the classroom, a STAR bear is given to the class with a backpack full of information regarding the patient’s condition. The bear then sits at the patient’s desk in class to remind classmates of the child. Information, get-well wishes and pictures are shuttled back and forth between the patient and his/her classmates through the STAR bear backpack until the child returns to the classroom.
As part of the STAR Program, an education liaison from the hospital works closely with patients who have special school needs. Learn about our tools families and their liaisons can use when working with a child’s teachers and school.