The room resembles a typical classroom: Bookshelves line walls decorated with motivational posters (“Never Never Never Ever Give Up!”) and assignments are scrawled in marker on a whiteboard at the front. But this classroom isn’t in a school — it’s on the third floor of Children’s Seashore House at CHOP — and its students, Ben, Tyler and Stephanie, are patients recovering from various types of head trauma.

“Are we seeing a video?” asks 12-year-old Ben. Jamie Johnson, one of five Hospital School Program teachers, answers yes. Ben grins and bounces in his seat. The video is about following rules, something that will help the kids when they return to school. 

The Hospital School Program helps 300 patients each year from kindergarten through 12th grade keep up with their class work while in the Hospital.

Groups like this one, which is held daily, not only provide a structured, safe and supportive environment for kids, but also give a rare opportunity for them to leave their rooms and interact with others. “And we try to have fun,” Johnson says. “That’s the most important. To keep it normal. The normalcy is everything.”