Returning to school is often frightening for children impacted by cancer. Everything has changed, including serious side-effects from their treatment. A lack of understanding can lead to bullying and feelings of isolation.
Camp Quality, a non-profit that aims to give kids impacted by cancer every opportunity to thrive, delivers a program in schools to help make this an easier time for children.
Camp Quality’s Primary School Education Program visits schools throughout the state where there has been a request for assistance by a parent, medical professional or teacher. The interactive puppet show dispels common myths and teaches students how to be supportive of classmates impacted by their own diagnosis or the diagnosis of someone they love.
State Trustees Australia Foundation provided a $7,900 grant to Camp Quality through our 2017 Grassroots Grants program. This funding provided eleven schools across Victoria, from Tarneit and Beaumaris North Primary Schools to Sacred Heart School in Yarrawonga and Echuca South Preschool, with access to the program. This reached more than 2,000 students, educating them about cancer in an age-appropriate manner as highlighted by one primary school teacher:
“The manner in which the show addresses cancer is age appropriate while clearly articulating the facts. It has helped me talk about cancer in a positive, reassuring manner.”
There is no other program offering this type of education in Australian schools. Research by Camp Quality shows 96% of parents find the program to be extremely effective at increasing overall wellbeing, optimism and happiness by building awareness and understanding of cancer. One Camp Quality mum, Rebecca, said,“Thank you for visiting my son’s school and putting on the puppet show last week! Such a fun way for kids to learn about cancer.”
In a recent evaluation of the program, Camp Quality had overwhelming evidence confirming the positive impact of the education program, with outcomes including:
- Providing a better transition back to school for children living with cancer
- Improving cancer knowledge of peers
- Allowing siblings to share their knowledge of cancer with their peers
- Starting the conversation about cancer in the school community
- Providing the school with a shared language to use when discussing cancer
Last year, 61% of Australian children newly diagnosed with cancer were supported by Camp Quality’s programs and services. Camp Quality’s goal is to reach all of them.
If you would like any information on the State Trustees Australia Foundation, please make an enquiry here.