Child Life Practicum

An introduction to the Child Life Profession

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 15-hours/week over an 8-week period.
  • Individual student schedules may be considered.
  • 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.

Goals and Objectives

  • The practicum is your introduction to the hospital environment as well as first-hand observations of our Child Life program at work.
  • 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 yourself to patients and families and offer services.
  • Interact with the child by getting on their level (physically, developmentally, emotionally).
  • Use appropriate active listening skills.
  • Respect the confidentiality of patients and families.
  • Conduct self 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 Requirements

  • Write a weekly journal
  • Prepare two developmental assessments
  • Schedule two shadow sessions with other professionals in the Child Life Department
  • Complete "What is Child Life?" worksheet
  • Observe medical play, procedural support and preparations
  • Plan and implement one therapeutic activity
  • Plan and implement one group craft
  • Plan and implement one small event
  • Complete assigned readings
  • Complete two book reviews
  • Self Evaluation
  • Complete evaluation of practicum program

How to Apply

You must be enrolled in a college/university. The following must be completed and submitted to begin the application process:

  • Completed application 
  • Resume
  • Transcript (unofficial accepted)
  • Two recommendation forms from those who have observed your work with children
  • Verification of enrollment in University during practicum.
Practicum Session Application Deadline
Fall May 5
Winter / Spring September 5
Summer January 5


Apply to our Child Life Practicum Program

After receiving your completed application and all requested attachments studentes will be contacted for an interview.

If accepted into the practicum program, students will be required to provide a current immunization record, proof of health insurance, liability insurance, and CPR certification.

NOTE: Effective September 1st, 2021, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital will require 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.

If you have further questions, please contact Dara Jackson, Practicum Student Coordinator at