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Shining Star School for Patients

Children who are hospitalized or who live with chronic illness benefit from keeping much of their regular routines from their lives outside the hospital. Attending school, working on school academics and completing schoolwork are a healthy part of a child’s life routine. Participating in school activities can give children hope of returning to normal events.

To meet this very important need for normalcy and development, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital has its very own school, the Shining Star School. Shining Star School helps promote general academic development, social and emotional development as well as the overall well-being of individual children and groups in the hospital setting. Patients are encouraged and welcome to participate in Shining Star School.

Who participates

Benefits of Shining Star School

Services we offer

Parent's role

Educational websites

Parent resources

Recommended books

Donate to Shining Star School

Meet the teachers

Contact Shining Star School

Who participates

  • Children enrolled in Kindergarten – Grade 12 (high school senior) who have been hospitalized for four or more days
  • Children whose chronic illness requires frequent admissions to the hospital
  • Children whose treatment requires they regularly miss part or all of a school day
  • Children referred by a physicianShining Star School at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo.

Families may request to participate by asking a member of their child's care team like a doctor, nurse, or a child life specialist, or by calling ext. 4858 from any hospital phone.


Benefits of Shining Star School

  • Assists the student in maintaining academic progress while hospitalized or in treatment 
  • Provides normalcy for school-age patients whose regular school routines are interrupted 
  • Distracts from pain and anxiety 
  • Individualizes instruction 
  • Coordinates instruction with student’s school 
  • Bases lessons on school assignments and/or learning goals 
  • Supports student’s transition back to the community

Services we offer

  • The teacher assesses the child’s educational needs 
  • The teacher collaborates with the child’s school for assignments and learning goals 
  • If assignments are unavailable, the teacher will create an educational plan and materials to meet a child’s needs, including consideration of the child’s medical condition 
  • Children may receive school services at the bedside or in the classroom (when appropriate) 
  • The teacher, along with volunteers, will work with children to help them be successful with their schoolwork and learning goals 
  • The teacher will be part of the team that supports the child’s transition into homebound or traditional school

Parent’s role

  • Inform the school of the child’s hospitalization and expected length of stay 
  • Tell your child’s physician and/or nurse you want your child to participate in the school program
  • Complete permission forms to allow the Shining Star School teacher to communicate directly with the child’s school
  • Bring textbook and/or other materials from the school as soon as possible 
  • Encourage your child to complete his or her assignments 
  • Communicate with your child’s school about special needs upon the child’s return to school


Meet the teachers

 Brenda Wilson, MAT, Teacher at Shining Start School at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis. Mo.  

Brenda Wilson, MAT

Ms. Brenda has more than 15 years of teaching experience in the St. Louis metropolitan area. After other jobs in the public relations and communications field, she felt a calling to teach and is at home at her new position as teacher at the Shining Star School at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon.


Courtney Erickson, MAT

I became a teacher because I had such amazing classroom teachers during elementary school. Their passion for teaching and student learning was something that always resonated with me. I wanted to be able to recreate that same nurturing environment that fostered a love of life-long learning. During college, I fell in love with teaching reading and decided to continue learning about literacy education during graduate school. Past teaching experiences have prepared me to work at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon. Flexibility, creativity, and a willingness to learn are essential when working with unique learners.


Contact us


From an outside phone: 314-268-2700, ext. 4858

From any hospital phone: dial 4858

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