child life practicum
Dayton Children’s is pleased to offer a child life practicum for college students pursuing the child life profession. This practicum is a 140+ hour observational experience (2 days a week for 12 weeks; 3 rotations) that is designed for students who have or are currently obtaining a degree in child life or any other major that is approved by the Association of Child Life Professionals. Please note, we will not have a summer practicum for 2022, or winter/spring or fall for 2023.
- Fall 2022 practicum applications are due May 3, 2022
- Summer 2023 practicum applications are due January 5, 2023
- Winter/spring 2024 practicum applications are due September 5, 2023
Mail completed applications and the requested files in the application to:
Child Life Practicum Coordinator
Child Life Department
Dayton Children's Hospital
1 Children’s Plaza
Dayton, OH 45404
Questions regarding the practicum or application? Contact Katelyn Shellabarger.
prerequisities for applying to the child life practicum
- Completed a minimum of 3 courses in child life or related coursework (see recommended coursework below)
- Minimum junior level college status with a 3.0 or higher GPA
- Completed a minimum of 50 hours of working with children in a hospital setting, medical fragile daycare, or camp for children with medical needs
- Completed a minimum of 50 hours working with well children
- Application packet must include:
- Unofficial transcripts
- 2 letters of recommendation
- Proof of work with children
practicum goals and objectives
- To gain an introduction to the Child Life profession in general, and to become acquainted with the Child Life Department at Dayton Children’s
- To have the opportunity to observe interactions with patients on a one-to-one basis and in group situations.
- To experience an accepting, non-threatening environment to promote healthy interactions between child, staff, and family.
- To gain an initial acquaintance with the needs of hospitalized children and to observe creative and flexible programming in meeting these needs.
- To observe advocacy for children and families in their interaction with the health care system.
- To see children prepared medical experiences through the use of books, medical equipment and play.
- Daily journal of hospital experiences
- Weekly journal reading. Include short summary in your journal.
- Plan and implement group activity time
- Observation of procedures
- Attend staff meetings, patient planning rounds, in-services
- Developmental observations
potential observational experiences
- Medical Play: Individual and group play experiences centered on a patient's hospitalization.
- Preparation: Individual teaching and play experience provided to patients regarding specific medical treatments and procedures.
- Coping and distraction: Techniques and activities offered to patients and families during hospitalization and specific medical experiences to assist with comfort and control.
- Diversional and recreational play: Programming for normalization offered to patients and siblings throughout hospitalization.
recommended reading list
These books are available from the Association of Child Life Professionals or can be ordered through Amazon.com.
- Gaynard, L. et al. (1990). Psychosocial Care of Children in Hospitals: A clinical practice manual from the ACCH child life research project. Bethesda, MD: Association for the Care of Children's Health.
- Bolig, R. Mahan, C. (2005) Meeting Children's Psychosocial Needs Across the Healthcare Continuum Austin, Texas: Pro.Ed.
Thompson, Richard. (2009) The Handbook of Child Life, A Guide for Pediatric Psychosocial Care, Charles C, Thomas, Publisher, Springfield, IL
recommended course work
- Child Life - Child Development
- Family Development
- Human Development
- Family Dynamics
- Therapeutic Recreation
- Death & Dying
- Cultural Diversity (courses in world religions or that pertain to a single culture do not fall into this category)
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology
We would encourage you complete a Course Work Review Application through the Association of Child Life Professionals website