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Child Life Practicum Program

The Child Life Practicum is designed as an introductory experience for individuals interested in pursuing a career in child life. Through experiential learning and observation of Certified Child Life Specialists, child life practicum students begin to increase their knowledge of evidence-based, developmentally-appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation and education that support and reduce fear, anxiety and pain for infants, children, youth and families as they cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury and treatment. Through these experiences, child life practicum students will enhance their knowledge of the child life profession and investigate the process of applying child life and developmental theory to practice.   

– Association of Child Life Professionals

Child Life Council Recommended Practicum Standards

Standard #1: The child life practicum is largely an observational experience with child life practicum students beginning to engage in independent play and developmentally supportive interventions with infants, children, youth, and families as deemed appropriate by the supervising Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS).

Standard # 2: The child life practicum student will be supervised by a CCLS who has achieved a minimum of 2,000 hours of paid work experience in the field. The supervising CCLS must be currently practicing in the field of child life; however, the setting of the child life practicum could vary.

Standard #3: The child life practicum encompasses a minimum of 100 supervised hours. The child life practicum experience may include a combination of practicum hours being completed in no more than two different settings given each setting builds upon and strengthens a child life practicum student’s continual development and growth as a CCLS. 

            **The number of hours encompassed will be determined between the practicum student and supervising CCLS. This determination will be made based upon each student’s individual and educational needs.

Standard #4: Child life practicum hours should be completed in an appropriate setting that provides the child life practicum student with the opportunity to observe and learn from psychosocial interventions that assist infants, children, youth, and families coping with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury and treatment. Approved settings can include:

  • Pediatric in-patient units including critical care units and in outpatient areas including emergency departments, radiology and imaging, specialty care clinics, behavioral and rehabilitation.
  • Community outreach programs
  • Private practice
  • Hospice services and home health
  • Camps for children with healthcare needs
  • Private medical and dental practices
  • Services to children of adult patients

Standard #5: The child life practicum includes observation opportunities for students to explore the following theory and interventions related to child life practice:

  • Child life assessments
  • Developmental theory integration
  • Therapeutic play interventions
  • Rapport building

Standard #6: The child life practicum learning experiences include activities and assignments that allow the child life practicum student to begin to apply and integrate knowledge and theory application for future clinical practice and help to initiate the development of a personal philosophy of child life practice. These learning assignments should include:

  • Journaling
  • Educational in-services and discussions
  • Specific and Structured Readings

Application Deadlines

Practicum SemesterApplication DeadlinesInitial Offer DatesAcceptance Dates2nd Offer Date
Winter/Spring 2023 September 7 October 10 October 11 October 12
Summer 2023
January 5 February 14 February 15 February 16
Fall 2023 March 15 May 2 May 3 May 4

Application Checklist Review

  • Completed and Signed Application Form
  • Unofficial College/University Transcripts
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation in sealed and signed envelopes
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae

*Practicum applications for Winter/Spring 2023 semester are not currently being accepted. 

Please mail completed applications to:

Child Life Services-Practicum
Carle Foundation Hospital NT8
611 W. Park St.
Urbana, IL 61801