Your child's education

Kura / school is an important part of your child's life. It provides structure, learning, opportunities to develop social and communication skills and offers purpose and a focus on the future. 

A diagnosis of mate pukupuku / cancer  or other serious illness, plus treatment, probably means long absences from kura / school - weeks, maybe months - and this can make it difficult for tamariki / children to keep up with their work and friendships. 

Work with the care team in hōhipere / hospital, your child's teacher(s) and the school's administration to sort out a strategy to help maintain your child's kuranga / education while they're undergoing treatment.

During Treatment

At times during treatment your taitamaiti / child may be too unwell to do schoolwork and will probably miss their friends and kura / school. Here are some tips that may help during this time. The hōhipere / hospital should have a teacher on staff who can arrange for schoolwork to be sent to the hōhipere / hospital and will help your taitamaiti / child work on their lessons. 

  • Depending on your child's education stage, it might be important for them to do some work every day, if they can, so they don't fall too far behind.
  • Consult with your child's teacher(s) at kura / school and hōhipere / hospital staff (teacher and social worker) to determine your child's needs and develop an action plan.
  • Encourage classmates to keep in touch. They could write letters or postcards, send messages or emails, or update via social media.

Returning to Kura / school

When treatment is finished (and perhaps during treatment too), your taitamaiti / child will be able to go back to kura / school. The prospect of returning to kura / school can be exciting (seeing friends again!) but also daunting. Your taitamaiti / child may be worried about the way they look (like if their hair is still growing back), whether friends have forgotten them or if they can catch up with schoolwork and fit in again.

It's normal to have real concerns about the return to kura / school because it's natural to want to protect your taitamaiti / child from harm or hurt. You might wonder if your taitamaiti / child will be up to it physically. Or you might worry about the risk of infection when their immune system is still recovering. or maybe you're concerned about whether your taitamaiti / child will be teased because of the way they look.

You may need some help from your care team to move forward. This is because part of your child's recovery from mate pukupuku / cancer or other serious illness is for you and your whānau to find a routine again so you can start activities that might have been put on hold. Here are some tips:

  • Consult with your child's teacher(s) about the return to kura / school. Tell them what has happened to your taitamaiti / child and provide information to help them support your taitamaiti / child at kura / school. The hōhipere / hospital social worker should be able to provide these resources. It helps if teachers understand the treatment your taitamaiti  / child has received and the side effects that may affect them at kura / school.
  • If your taitamaiti / child can't return to kura / school full time, send them along for a few hours a day or even just to enjoy lunchtime with friends. This will ease them back into the routine and help friends adjust too.
  • Ask your child's friends to be supportive and to stay close.
  • Make your kura / school aware of any needs your taitamaiti / child may have. For example, they may want to wear a hat or bandana for a while, or might be unable to take part in sports for a while.
  • Be sure teachers are keeping an eye out for physical or emotional issues that may develop when they return to kura / school.
  • Ask a member of staff to be available for your taitamaiti / child, in case they need to talk to someone at kura / school.

Download our free cancer kit

The Kenzie's Gift Cancer Kit for tamariki / children can help tamariki / children and their mātua / parents and caregivers to understand mate pukupuku / cancer, recognise their emotions and keep a record of their journey. It includes a fun, interactive diary for 5 to 12 year olds and an information book for mātua / parents and caregivers. It has summaries of information about the diagnosis and treatment of child cancers, some tips for coping, useful ways to organise important medical details for your taitamaiti / child and much more.

Request your copy