Commonwealth University student instructs elementary students during class project.

Child Life Specialist (Minor)

Due to its multidisciplinary nature, the Child Life Specialist minor appeals to a wide variety of undergraduate students as well as non-degree students throughout PSSHE and beyond.

Degrees & Offerings
  • Minor
  • Bloomsburg
  • Lock Haven
  • Mansfield
  • Online
Program Contact
Professor of Teaching and Learning
Illustration of Mountain

Child Life is a well-respected, multidisciplinary, professional field that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when innovative hospitals began introducing play programs for children as a means to address their unique developmental needs within health care settings.

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. They provide children with age-appropriate preparation for medical procedures, pain management and coping strategies, and play and self-expression activities. They also provide information, support, and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. Currently Child Life has a strong presence throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Japan, Kuwait, the Philippines, South Africa, Serbia, New Zealand, and Australia. Today, some 400 children’s hospitals throughout North America provide child life services to pediatric patients and their families. Other common health care venues offering child life services include a variety of outpatient clinics, emergency departments, hospice and palliative care programs, various camps for children experiencing chronic illness, rehabilitation centers, pediatric dental offices, and some funeral homes.

Students interested in the Child Life Specialist Minor should consult their advisor for information on course requirements. More information will be added to this page when available.

Courses and Curriculum

Through completion of the course sequence, student will learn to understand the competencies, standards, and scope of clinical practices of child life specialists; consider the impact of childhood illness and death within a family systems approach; recognize child and adolescent reactions to stress, illness, and hospitalization based upon developmental theories; and recognize the value of play and psychosocial supportive interventions.

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