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Child Life Practicum Program

The Johns Hopkins Summer Child Life Practicum Program is intended to provide an introduction to the child life profession to individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as a child life specialist. Practicum students have the opportunity to observe the role of child life in two clinical settings as well as assist with the development and implementation of therapeutic and developmentally appropriate activities in a playroom setting. In addition to the clinical and playroom experiences, the practicum student is responsible for the completion of readings and assignments that encourage the application of child development theories to their work with children and families. If accepted, the student’s placement and supervisor will be determined by the child life training coordinator based on department availability and student learning needs.


Before applying, applicants must have completed:

  • At least 15 hours of related coursework (i.e., child life, child development, developmental psychology, family systems, etc.), including at least one child life course taught by a certified by a child life specialist
  • At least 25 hours of volunteer or work experience with well infants, children, youth and/or families
  • At least 25 hours of volunteer experience in a hospital setting under the direct supervision of a certified child life specialist

Application Process

The application deadline is Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Practicum application packet must include the following:

  • Completed online application
  • Two reference forms to be completed by individuals who have directly supervised or observed the applicant’s work with children and families and/or academic work
    • Please send the following link to your references and ask them to complete and submit the online form.
    • References are also encouraged to submit a letter of recommendation via email to Lauren Mitchell, child life training coordinator, at
  • Academic transcripts from all colleges or universities attended
  • if you will be receiving academic credit for your practicum placement, a description of the requirements and the role of the university supervisor (e.g., a letter from the academic supervisor and a list of academic requirements for placement)

Our practicum program is offered for summer sessions only. Summer 2021 practicum dates are Monday, May 24, to Friday, July 30.

Transcripts can be emailed via secure email to or sent via mail to:

Child Life Training Coordinator
Johns Hopkins Children's Center
7217 Bloomberg - Child Life Department
1800 Orleans Street
Baltimore, Md 21287

Once all applications are reviewed, candidates will be contacted regarding the potential of an interview.

Practicum Goals 

Goals for the practicum student’s experience include:

  • Becoming increasingly familiar with the role of the child life specialist
  • Demonstrating effective communication skills with hospitalized children and their families
  • Interacting with patients in group activities as well as on an individual basis
  • Being able to describe the impact of hospitalization on the emotional and developmental needs of children at different ages
  • Translating, adapting and applying to the work setting that has been experienced previously only in theory
  • Gaining basic knowledge and understanding of disease processes common in the pediatric population, medical procedures and terminology
  • Developing professional attitudes, growth, maturity and judgment by functioning in a professional environment

For additional information, please contact Lauren Mitchell, child life training coordinator, via email at

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