High School Students
- Classes to take in High School
- Volunteer Work
- A List of Qualities Common in Child Life Specialists
Classes to take in High School
It is never too early to prepare yourself for the Child Life profession. If you are a high school student interested in Child Life, here are some helpful suggestions:
While in high school, you can work with your high school counselor to select classes that will prepare you for a career in Child Life or other related fields (Psychology, Human Development, etc.).
Recommended class to take while in high school and the benefits of each classes are:
- Sociology ~ You will learn more about the study of people and groups that you may help and work with.
- Psychology ~ You will understand how people come to think and behave.Developmental psychology can help you understand changes at each developmental age.
- Health ~ You will learn the importance of wellness and information about different illnesses.
- Anatomy and Physiology ~ You will learn more about the human body and the functions of different organs and bodily systems
- Health Careers/Health Professions~ You will be more acquainted with different careers/professions and learn how each can help children.
- Child Development ~ You will learn about the biological and psychological changes from infancy to adolescence.
- Foreign Language ~ Can help you to better communicate with patients and families who speak another language.Important foreign languages include Spanish and American Sign Language.
- Home Economics (Family and Consumer Science) ~ You will learn about providing for the well-being of individuals and households through nutrition, cooking and parenting.
- Interpersonal Communications ~ Will help you understand the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication while interacting with patients and their families.
- Coursework related to children ~ Can help you learn more about effective ways to interact with children.
- Coursework related to health ~ Can help you understand more about a child's well-being and common childhood illnesses and conditions.
- Coursework related to people skills ~ Can help prepare you to work with various populations of people.
- Coursework related to world cultures ~ Can help you learn about the behaviors and beliefs of different cultures around the world that you might come into contact with during your internship and throughout your professional career.
- Coursework related to diversity ~ Can help you understand the importance of diversity and celebrate the differences between cultures.
- Coursework related to kids with illnesses/disabilities ~ Can help you prepare you to work with children with illnesses and special needs.
While in high school, it is important to participate in volunteer opportunities. Volunteering with children gives you great opportunities to learn how to interact with children:
Volunteer work with hospitalized children is very important to help prepare you for the Child Life profession.
Look for pediatric volunteer opportunities in your area.
Contact Volunteer Services at local hospitals in your area to find out how you can volunteer on a pediatric unit.
Volunteering at camps with ill children is also fun way to learn about childhood illnesses and provides an opportunity to interact with children of varying abilities. Research camps in your area to learn more about applying for volunteer positions.
A few camps for children with special needs/circumstances in this area are:
- Hozhoni Weekend (414-532-5500; A three-day weekend camp for families with a child with cancer)
- Easter Seals (608-277-8333; Working one-on-one with a camper during a weekend respite program running from September to May)
- Camp Awesum (campAwesum@yahoo.com ; for children with Autism)
- Camp Angel (715-542-3065; camp for young people experiencing cancer of a loved one)
- Camp Hope (Contact Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org; a weekend camp for grieving children and teenagers experiencing the death of a loved one)
- One Step at a Time Camp (Children's Oncology Services, Inc office number 312-924-4220; educational, social and physical development services to children with cancer and leukemia)
Volunteer work with healthy children is also very important to prepare you for the Child Life Profession.
Common examples are:
- After School Programs
- Day Care
- Big Brothers and Big Sisters
- Boys and Girls Club
- Family Resource Centers
Contact your high school counselor for more volunteer opportunities in your area.
Get involved with student volunteer organizations at your high school (e.g. National Honor Society)
Volunteer Work with children with developmental delays
Contact your high school counselor for more volunteer opportunities with children with developmental delays.
Common examples are:
- Head Start Programs
- YMCA Adaptive Programs
- Birth to 3 Programs (Early Intervention Programs)
- Families and Schools Together (FAST)
- Respite Programs
- Special Olympics
A List of Qualities Common in Child Life Specialists
- Enjoys being around children
- Enjoys helping people
- Interested in healthcare
- Enjoys doing crafts
- Good organizational skills
- Enjoys planning events
- Likes working as a team
- Ability to empathize
- Enjoys playing with kids and talking to people
- Likes learning about medical procedures
- Ability to be present during procedures
- Knowledge of a foreign language