The aim of this study is to understand the role of education in the health of the hospitalised child, by means of an analysis of the teacher's activity in a public hospital (The Antônio Pedro University Hospital - Niterói, RJ). The central question which guided the development of the research, based upon participant observation of situations which involved interaction between children, children and adults and between children and the environment, was: How can education contribute to the health of the hospitalised child? The categories of analysis employed were: language, toys, emotion and knowledge, based upon theoretical references proposed by Wallon and Vygotsky. The conclusions suggest that education helps the child to re-signify his/her life in the hospital environment and that an attentive and sensitive pedagogical 'listening' can help to rescue the subjectivity and self-esteem of hospitalised children, and contribute to their well-being and health. The research reveals that the possibilities of action for the teacher in this new environment are great; nevertheless, the challenge of constructing a different educational practice to that which takes place in the school institution is great and demands specific principles and other levels of knowledge that lend support to this complex pedagogical work in the hospital field.
education; health; hospital pedagogy; subjectivity