Child Life Practicum

An observatory introduction to the child life profession

Update: Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital looks forward to welcoming child life practicum students again for the summer 2023 semester (applications due January 5, 2023) .

Note: For the safety of our patient and families, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital requires all students participating in clinical training opportunities to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. There will be no exemptions for medical or religious reasons. Students should ensure that they are able to comply with this requirement prior to applying.

The Child Life Practicum Program at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital is designed to introduce potential child life practitioners to the hospital environment and to introduce them to the child life profession. Primary responsibilities include providing play opportunities to patients both individually and in small groups and assisting with program support activities. In addition, practicum students will have opportunities to observe Certified Child Life Specialists in their work. The child life practicum provides introductory experiences aiding the students' development towards becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist.

  • Each 120-hour practicum experience is structured as 40-hours/week over a 4-week period
  • Students are assigned to two primary Certified Child Life Specialists who will serve as their preceptors and mentors

The practicum program provides hands-on experience, observations and multiple other opportunities for learning.

**An ACLP Verification of Child Life Practicum Experience form will be signed at the successful completion of the practicum standards.**

Goals and Objectives

The practicum is an introduction to the hospital environment as well as first-hand observations of a child life program at work. During this time, it is expected that students will:

  • Develop a personal comfort level and confidence to function in the hospital environment.
  • Take the initiative to seek out and interact with patients in RJ's Activity Center and on the patient units.
  • Gain knowledge regarding the importance of therapeutic play opportunities for hospitalized children and the creation of a therapeutic environment.
  • Develop the ability to build rapport with a child/teen and engage them in self-satisfying and therapeutic activities.
  • Introduce themselves to patients and families and offer services.
  • Interact with children by getting on their level (physically, developmentally, emotionally).
  • Use appropriate active listening skills.
  • Respect the confidentiality of patients and families.
  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner (appearance, punctuality, flexibility, staff interaction).
  • Ensure a safe environment by being aware of all children in the room and their medical needs.
  • Set behavioral limits and redirect negative behavior, when necessary.

Practicum Student Assignments

The following is snapshot of requirements and does not fully reflect all assignments. Students will be expected to fully participate in the following assignments:

  • Medical Terminology Assignment
  • Identification of Professional Boundaries
  • Weekly journal
  • Complete "What is Child Life?" worksheet
  • Plan/Facilitate 6 themed activity plans
  • Draft sample chart notes
  • Create a digital portfolio
  • Mock interview
  • Diagnosis/Child Life Integration Presentation
  • Assigned readings
  • Self Evaluation
  • Practicum program evaluation

Practicum Provisions

  • Parking: Parking is provided at no cost to the student.
  • Public Transportation: The hospital is on the main bus line and located within downtown St. Petersburg, a city that allows for easy foot traffic.
  • Uniform: Practicum students are required to wear a polo uniform throughout their clinical experiences. 1 polo is provided free of charge and additional polos may be purchased from the hospital gift shop. Black or navy scrub pants and closed toed sneakers are the responsibility of the student.

Applying for the Child Life Practicum

  • In order to be considered, all candidates must be enrolled at a college/university at the time of their application and throughout the practicum. Please do not submit an application if you are an independent student.
    • If selected for a practicum, an education affiliation agreement between the student's university and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital is required.
  • By the time of the application deadline, applicants must have successfully completed at least 1 child development course + 2 additional courses that meet the coursework requirements of the Association of Child Life Professionals' Academic Eligibility Requirements.
  • If accepted into the practicum program, students will be required to provide a current immunization record, proof of health insurance, liability insurance, and American Heart Association BLS/CPR certification. Additionally, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital requires all students and instructors visiting our campus for clinical training opportunities to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. No exemptions for medical or religious reasons will be made. Students should ensure that they are able to comply with this requirement prior to applying.
  • All applications must be electronically submitted prior to the posted deadlines below. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.
  • Submission of an application does not guarantee that the candidate will receive an interview or practicum placement.


Practicum Session Application Deadline
Fall May 5
Winter / Spring September 5
Summer January 5

Apply to our Child Life Practicum Program

Contact Us

If you have further questions, please contact the Child Life Practicum Coordinator.

Send us an email

[email protected]

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