Every September, the Israeli school year starts anew. But for hundreds of sick kids hospitalized or immobile and staying at the Saban Pediatric Center of Soroka Hospital, packing up a bag and getting on the school bus isn’t an option. To help these kids keep up with their school work and stay at the level of their peers, we created the School for Sick Kids, a fully accredited school under the guidance of the Ministry of Education that helps more than 12,000 children a year, aged 312.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Esther Friedman, the school helps the student to improve their hospital stay and to reduce the learning gap that a child can experience when hospitalized for a long period.

The school takes place in nine learning spaces, located throughout the hospital and close to the childrens’ wing and to isolation rooms. For some students, the learning comes right to the patient’s bed, and for others the teaching is done as a group. The teaching includes diverse areas of instruction which encourage the kids to be active and engaging. In addition to core instruction, students are invited to choose to learn what stimulates and interests them: in the communications course they can write a movie script, create and edit a short film; In science class they perform scientific experiments and learn about medicine; In robotics they design and build robots; and in media studies they can write an article for the Soroka School newspaper, or to be interviewed on local radio. They can play mind-challenge gates, learn using our “Smart-Boards”, or participate in an online distance-learning class in conjunction with kids from other hospitals.

Every student in the hospital is given an opportunity to learn, according to his needs and desires, and according to the curriculum of the educational framework in which they learn,” says Esther Friedman, director of the Soroka School for Sick Kids. “To make this possible, we contact the child’s school and teachers, get the appropriate materials, and create for the student an individual education program, based on their medical situation. We also open a line of communication between the student and their home teachers, so the student can stay connected to their classroom and friends”.

The Soroka School for Sick Kids also works closely with the hospital’s medical staff and operates programs designed to help sick kids deal with their hospital stay, such as a special computer program that helps kids to reduce their anxiety in preparing for surgery, an MRI preparation program, and educational training on diabetes prevention. We also host Cinema Soroka, a movie theater located in the center of the Saban Pediatric Center, which screens movies daily for the children.

Among the School’s most important programs is a Science and Technology summer camp for children with cancer. Located in the sand-dune region of Nitzana, this 5-day camp is an opportunity to expand and enrich the knowledge the students have acquired in Soroka School’s science courses, and to enable kids to get out of the hospital and have a great and time, learning and having fun.

The School for Sick Kids is partially funded by donations from donors in Israel and abroad. Your support makes our programs possible, and helps to keep us equipped with the tools we need to help our students. Currently, we are looking for financial support to purchase the following equipment:

  • 18 tablet computers (Ipad/Samsung-style)
  • 10 digital cameras
  • 6 Robot construction sets
  • 10 portable DVD players for kids who aren’t mobile enough to come to the Soroka Cinema
  • 5 electric pianos, to bring into the rooms of kids who can’t leave their beds
  • DVD movies
  • Math books
  • Board games
  • Wooden construction sets
  • Science sets

You can help fund these purchases by making an online tax-deductible donation to the School for Sick Kids, or by sending us the products themselves (new only please). For information on how to send products, please contact us by email.

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In the United States:
American Friends of
Soroka Medical Center
Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
PO Box 184-H
Scarsdale, NY 10583
Telephone: 914725-9070
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