Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CHOP's Child Life Specialists learn through play, too!

Each year, Please Touch Museum partners with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to train Child Life Specialists interns on what we value most here at the Children's Museum of Philadelphia: Learning through play!

I had a chance to sit down with our friends from CHOP as they reflect on their experience here at the museum. Read on to learn more...

Pinky: What does a Child Life Specialist intern do on a daily basis?

CHOP: We shadow a certified Child Life Specialist to develop our clinical skills, as well as implement therapeutic activities, encourage play and normal development in the hospital, provide preparation for procedures, distraction and coping during procedures and education about medical diagnosis. We use play with the patients to help normalize the hospital environment and make sure that the child does not regress. We work with the whole family to help all those affected by a hospitalization or diagnosis cope with their health care experience.

Pinky: During your time at the museum, how have you interpreted Please Touch Museum’s mission of "learning through play?"

CHOP:
As Child Life interns, we recognize that children use play to express their thoughts and feelings. Children demonstrate their understanding of their environment through play; therefore, play is an ideal avenue for education. We have found that the mission of Please Touch Museum is very similar to the roles of a Child Life Specialist because we help patients and their families understand and learn about procedures and the hospital through play.

Pinky: What kinds of activities did you participate in at the museum and how have they helped you in your own work?

CHOP:
We toured the museum, met with staff, interacted with visitors in the exhibits, facilitated activities in the Program Room and participated in dramatic play and puppetry. These activities gave us a chance to work with children in a way that has reinforced our knowledge of child development and the opportunity to use play to build rapport and promote learning in a new setting. The experiences we were able to engage in have helped us bring new play ideas back into the hospital to use with the patients to provide new opportunities for play.

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We're all about learning through play.

Join Pinky, one of Please Touch Museum's resident puppets, on an inside look into all the fun, educational things happening at Philly's Children's Museum. This blog is not just about what we do at the museum, but about the educational philosophy behind why we do what we do.