Child Life Practicum

Child Life

Child Life Practicum

Contact Information

(608) 890-8095

The purpose of the Child Life practicum is to give students a hands-on experience in the Child Life profession. This is not an exploration, or job shadow, of the profession, rather it is an experience to prepare a student who is pursuing a Child Life internship and career.
Practicum students will have opportunity to:
  • Understand the Child Life philosophy and program in use at the American Family Children's Hospital
  • Learn about and observe how hospitalization affects infants, children and adolescents
  • Observe the role of a Child Life specialist on the inpatient units and outpatient services
  • Provide diversional play activities and facilitate socialization between patients of all ages
  • Learn about medical play and other techniques used by Child Life specialists to promote a positive hospital experience and facilitate coping

Applying to the Program

Learn how to apply to the Child Life practicum program


Students must:

  • Have at least junior standing at an accredited university with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Have completed at least two college level courses focused on child life, child development, developmental psychology or family systems
  • Have prior experience working with infants, children or adolescents
  • Be currently enrolled in a university or be able to purchase liability insurance
  • Have a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in hospital/healthcare/medical-related setting (i.e. Child Life volunteer, counselor at special needs camp)


The Child Life Practicum at the American Family Children's Hospital is a 12-week program offered during the spring and fall semesters only. Students will complete five rotations (Inpatient, Pediatric Specialty Clinics, Day Treatment/Sedation, Surgery and Emergency Department) with a minimum of 10 hours per week, including weekend shifts. Child Life staff will work with individual students to accommodate schedules, but students are expected to complete all rotations.

Please note: Because we feel strongly that students should receive a variety of experiences, we do not accept internship applications from students who have completed a Child Life Practicum at American Family Children’s Hospital.