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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 120- hour observational experience 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 Child Life Council. Applications for the 2018 practicum are due September 5, 2017. 

download application

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.

practicum requirements

  • Completion of 100 volunteer hours in the hospital prior to application
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 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

  • 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
  • Psychology
  • Counseling
  • Sociology
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Death & Dying
  • Ethics
  • 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

contact us

To contact our child life department please call us at 937-641-3303 or send us an email.