I am so delighted to share one of my former student’s journey to becoming a child life specialist. I have been so inspired by her strength and you will too.
Guest Blogger, Allie Jones, Child Life Cooperative
What an honor it is to be a guest blogger for the Child Life Mommy!
I have had a couple of different encounters with Shani throughout the years, and I have been so encouraged by her support of the Child Life Cooperative. So today I am excited to share with you more of how the Child Life Cooperative came to be.
It was June of 2017. I had just become a mom to the sweetest little boy and was sitting on my couch while he was napping and was googling “child life stories” and “child life podcasts”. Though I could not be happier to be a first-time mom, I found myself also missing the stimulation of the child life profession while I was on maternity leave.
I craved the stories I shared with my child life co-workers. I loved the times when they would come back from an intervention and I would sit next to them, wide-eyed hearing about their intense child life interventions they provided. I loved asking the questions, “then what did you do?” and taking mental notes as I learned from their skills and expertise.
I treasured the moments when I would come to the office, our safe haven, and sit at our conference table and begin to cry about a bereavement case. I valued the times when I would come fuming back from procedure, put my bag down and say, “Well, that didn’t go as I expected!” What followed was deep, meaningful clinical reflection. I crave it. We need it. We thrive off it in order to continue to grow and develop in our skills.
So, what if I could create a space that would promote reflection? What if I wrote a blog that would address the very real, raw and vulnerable parts of child life—the insecurities, the conflicts, the simple joys and rewarding moments. What if I spent time “sitting at the feet” of other professionals, recorded their stories from the field, and aired it on a podcast? What if I pressed into my passion for learning and sought to develop resources that would support and empower developing child life students—the future specialists and leaders in our field?
After many, many hours and late evenings of dreaming and brainstorming with my husband, a gifted Career Coach, at our dining room table, the mission of the Child Life Cooperative was born: to learn by reflection, unite for support and equip students to advance the child life profession.
I invite you to be a part of the Child Life Cooperative! Whether you are a student, child life professional, educator or maybe even a parent or professional from an entirely different field, I hope that you can be encouraged by the real and honest stories you will hear from the podcast, read on the blog, and view ways to support students in pursuing their professional dreams.
I also invite you to contribute and collaborate with me. I would love to talk with you more to learn about how I can support and encourage you in your professional journey or hear any feedback or advice you may have of ways to expand and develop the Child Life Cooperative.
As the child life profession expands into new settings, roles, and communities, it is also hitting a few roadblocks. Currently there is a surplus of excited students eager to start their career as a Certified Child Life Specialist, but they are finding it extremely challenging to obtain an internship spot because there just aren’t enough available. Some child life sites are also requiring a child life practicum to be completed before they will consider a candidate for their internship program. It’s another bump in the road for students.
So some students are going the route of fulfilling a practicum to gain knowledge and experience that will hopefully help advance them.
I’m thrilled to introduce a unique type of child life practicum from Child life United.
Guest Blogger, Courtney Moreland, Founder and Director of Child Life United
Child Life United has partnered with organizations all over the world to offer aspiring child life specialists’ international practicums. All Child Life United practicums will follow the Recommended Standards as set forth by the Association of Child Life Professionals.
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 basic child life skills related to play, developmental assessment, and integration of child life theory into interventions with infants, children, youth and families. Child life practicum students will increase their comfort level by interacting with infants, children, youth, and families in stressful situations, health care settings and/or in programs designed for special needs populations. 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.
Click here to apply for a future abroad practicum.
Child Life United just completed a practicum in the Philippines. It provided five child life students an educational experience in three different cities. Here is what they have to say about it,
“I have learned and gained so much this international practicum. I have been exposed to the reality in which people live through my interactions with children and parents. I have realized that the practice of child life is more than guidelines from textbooks or theories. It involves being present and supportive, not only for the children, but for the parents who are essentially going through the worst times of their lives.” Jasmine M.
“Playing with children who spoke limited to no English was challenging at first, but gradually I learned how to communicate and understand what they wanted just by listening and observing their body language. I am still in awe of how many children I saw during my travel (hospital patients, well sheltered, street children) and getting a small peep hole look into what their lifestyle looks like from the outside in.” Michele F.