Background: Minimally invasive cardiac surgery is now becoming standard in the correction of simple congenital cardiac malformations. We introduced a clinical pathway for fast track recovery of school activities in children after minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and assessed the function of the pathway in children with atrial or ventricular septal defects, comparing minimally invasive surgery to repair through a conventional full sternotomy. Methods: We studied 15 children of school age who underwent repair of an atrial or ventricular septal defect through a lower midline sternotomy, and 10 children undergoing repair through a full sternotomy. The clinical pathway was for extubation to take place in the operating room, echocardiographic evaluation on the 5th postoperative day, and discharge home on the 7th postoperative day, with return to school within 2 weeks, and resumption of all gymnastic activity within 6 weeks of the minimally invasive surgery. Results: In those having a lower midline sternotomy, postoperative hospital stay was 7.4 ± 0.8 days, with return to school 8.0 ± 2.4 days after discharge. They resumed gymnastics 41 ± 11 days after the minimally invasive surgery. In those having a full sternotomy, in contrast, these parameters were 13.5 ± 2.7, 23.1 ± 8.4, and 95 ± 43 days, respectively. Of the 15 children undergoing a minimally invasive approach, 12 (80%) fulfilled the criterions of our clinical pathway. Conclusions: We conclude that minimally invasive cardiac surgery can safely be performed in children. In addition to its cosmetic role, the technique has added value in promoting early return to normal school life, including gymnastics.