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 an affiliated university or college
  • 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 three rotations within the areas in which Child Life provides services (inpatient units, pediatric specialty clinics, day treatment/sedation, surgery and emergency department) with a minimum of 10 hours per week, which may include evening and 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.