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School – it is a given in most children’s lives in the US. Just out of diapers our kids begin preschool at least a few days a week by 3 years of age. With the onset of Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) programs, access to affordable and free early learning has increased. Early education prepares kids for the many years of schooling to come. Elementary, middle and high school follow– ensuring all children are provided the knowledge and skills needed within their K-12 education careers.

Many children who are hospitalized are “invisible by the broader field of education” according to Dr. Megan Nickels, Faculty Director of the University of Central Florida’s PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital. The PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital tackles this problem head-on. It is the world’s first hospital-based school program that ensures children fighting for their health are not forced to lose valuable education. The program provides research-backed educational opportunities daily through the use of virtual reality, robotics and avatars.

Education Integrated PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital


The PedsAcademy partners with the University of Central Florida (UCF) bringing 54 affiliated faculty and students to run the school program. Pre-service elementary educators teach students daily in the hospital setting (right in their hospital room if needed!) under the supervision of Dr. Nickels and her team. UCF students from all colleges, including the School of Social Work, are provided an opportunity to work with the students at the academy providing a unique and valuable pre-service experience.

Joining the pack of technology-based intervention are our very own Bluebee Pals! We are proud to announce that the PedsAcademy is now a Bluebee Pals Project donation site. The Bluebee Pals are helping these resilient students learn through book reading and engagement with academic apps! Four students at the PedsAcademy have recently been gifted their Bluebee Pals and will take them along when they are able return home! Thanks to Bluebee Pals and the PedsAcademy for partnering to ensure access to education no matter the challenges a student faces!

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