Bloomsburg University's Child Life Specialist Minor

Child Life Specialist

Bloomsburg University's Minor in Child Life Specialist is the first of its kind in the PASSHE system.

  • Child life specialists are pediatric health care professionals who work with children and families in hospitals and other settings to help them cope with the challenges of hospitalization, illness, and disability.
  • Child life specialists provide children with age-appropriate preparation for medical procedures, pain management and coping strategies, and play and self-expression activities.
  • Child life specialists also provide information, support, and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members.

Practicum Experience

Summer practicum delivers amid COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 nearly canceled this summer’s field-based practicum for Bloomsburg University’s child life specialist program. Instead, the 28 students made history by going virtual with their 120-hour experience with Camp Victory in Millville and the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, United Kingdom. It was a first of its kind virtual child life practicum, according to Michael Patte, professor of teaching and learning and child life specialist.

“Both face-to-face experiences were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Patte said. “With some creative thinking, Colleen Cameron (instructor of teaching and learning and certified child life specialist) conceptualize offering the practicum virtually.”

In fact, the virtual option may have proven even more worthwhile according to Amanda Kline, a medical imaging major who is pursuing minors in child life and gerontology.

Young child shown at pop up playground activity

Program Coordinator

Michael Patte, Ph.D
1101 McCormick Center

“Initially, I planned on traveling abroad for this practicum in London,” said Kline, who has volunteered abroad twice with MEDLIFE during her time at Bloomsburg. “Once I found out there would be an online option I was totally on board! Although working hands-on with children and child life specialists at Camp Victory and Great Ormond Street Hospital was ideal, this online experience allowed us tom connect with both sites.”


Child Life Specialist Minor Course Descriptions

PROFSTUD 340 – (3) – The Children & Families in Medical Settings course introduces students to the role of a child life specialist and a psychosocial care framework of children and families in medical settings. Through a review of historical and current influences in pediatric healthcare settings, basic child life theory and practice will be explored.

PROFSTUD 341 – (3) – The Death, Dying, & Loss: Child & Family Perspectives course provides students with an understanding of pediatric death, dying, and loss by exploring the psychosocial, sociocultural, and ethical aspects of loss and through examining concepts of grief and bereavement. Theories of child and adolescent development provide students with a comprehensive framework for understanding illness and end of life care.

PROFSTUD 342 – (3) – The Applied Research Methods course helps students to understand and critically evaluate research, develop basic skills for conducting research, and to apply these skills in practical settings.

PROFSTUD 343 – (3) – The Child Life Practicum course provides students with the opportunity to work with hospitalized children and their families under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. Practicum students will observe pre-procedural preparation, procedural support and distraction, and medical/therapeutic play. Practicum students will also facilitate playroom programming and bedside play activities.

PROFSTUD 347 – (3) – The Play & Expressive Arts for the Developing Child course provides an overview of the principles of therapeutic play, including history, theories, techniques, applications, and skills. The content focuses on understanding the role of therapeutic play as applied to clinical and non-clinical settings with children, adolescents, and adults.

PROFSTUD 414 – (3) – The Child, Family, and Community Engagement course introduces students to the family as a social system, including historical and contemporary theories related to family structure and functions, interaction patterns during times of transition, and the dynamics of
family life. Students examine diverse family systems, including parenting, caregiving, and family life from a cross-cultural perspective. From a clinical perspective, students learn how factors such as abuse, violence, and poverty influence development and how multidisciplinary teams provide optimal care to the child and family.

(*) Courses, which are offered in both online and face-to-face formats, will be taught by BU faculty along with certified child life specialists.

“Students must earn at least a C in each course of this certificate program.”