ALERT:
In light of the ongoing recommendations surrounding COVID-19, the Child Life Department has made the difficult decision to suspend all donations of toys and play materials. We feel that it’s in the best interest for all to limit the amount of play materials for patient use coming from the community into our hospital at this time.

Please know that our community was so generous during the 2019 holiday season. We can assure you are well stocked and prepared to get through all of the play requests in the upcoming weeks.

If you’d like to make a donation to our department during this time, please consider an online donation »

Thank you for supporting play in our hospital. We cannot create fun, distracting and therapeutic experiences for our patients without you.


Child Life Program

The Department of Child Life, Creative Arts Therapy & School Programs at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children helps patients and their families cope with medical experiences. Our staff promotes the use of play, preparation, education and self-expression activities as a way to normalize the hospital. Our team of certified Child Life specialists are skilled at supporting the child and their family during a stressful medical event. We strive to empower children and families, while partnering with them to meet their individual needs.

Call to request a visit from a Child Life specialist or, if you need immediate assistance, ask your nurse or another team member to contact us.

Meet Our Team

Leadership Team

Jennifer Sciolla, MS, CTRS, CCLS

Senior Director, Child & Family Services
jennifer.sciolla@nemours.org

Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science from Temple University and her Master of Science from Nova Southeastern University. Jen has worked in many the region’s premier healthcare systems as a clinician and as a Child Life leader. She is a longtime adjunct instructor at Temple University and a consultant for the Association of Child Life Professionals, providing programmatic consultation and development to Child Life programs across North America. Jen joined Nemours in December 2014 and is the Senior Director of Child and Family Services, overseeing the Departments of: Child Life, Creative Arts Therapy and School Programs; Social Work, Patient Relations and Pastoral Care.


Melissa Nicely, MS, CCLS

Manager, Department of Child Life, Creative Arts Therapy & School Programs
melissa.nicely@nemours.org

Melissa earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Fresno State in California, and her Master of Arts in Child Life from University of La Verne, in California. Melissa has worked in children’s hospitals in California, and has experience as a nonprofit professional at the Association for Child Life Professionals. Melissa joined Nemours as a child life specialist in 2013, and became a manager in 2015


 
Child Life Specialists
Molly Donadee, MS, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist II
molly.donadee@nemours.org

Amelia Hayes, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist III, Palliative Care
amelia.hayes@nemours.org

Carrie Howard, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist II
carrie.howard@nemours.org

Jennifer Kelley, BS, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist III
jennifer.kelley@nemours.org

Harlee Light, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist II
harlee.wirtshafter@nemours.org

Caitlin Meehan, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist III
caitlin.meehan@nemours.org

Laura Mitchell, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist III
laura.mitchell@nemours.org

Debbie Palley, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist II
deborah.palley@nemours.org

Lexi Schubert, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist I
alexandra.schubert@nemours.org

Jana L. Teagle, CTRS, CCLS, CBIS

Certified Child Life Specialist III
jana.teagle@nemours.org

Brooke Thueson, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist II
brooke.thueson@nemours.org

Kim Vignola, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist II
kimberly.vignola@nemours.org

Bree Vinci, CCLS

Child Life Specialist
brianna.vinci@nemours.org

 
Child Life Activity Coordinators
 
Events and Donations

Phone: (302) 298-7047


What We Do

When a child is anxious or overwhelmed, or other children have difficulty understanding what's happening, it can affect everyone. Child Life specialists support the entire family during a medical experience. Our staff provide all kinds of services and support not only to our patients, but also to parents, siblings and other family members.

 
Psychosocial support

We can help your child cope with an injury, diagnosis or treatment by encouraging discussion, answering questions, and talking about feelings and concerns.

 
Preprocedure/preoperative support

We work to reduce your child’s fears and anxiety before a procedure or surgery by explaining what will happen and what to expect.

 
Support during a procedure

We try to reduce your child’s anxiety by providing distraction and nonmedical pain management.

 
Medical/therapeutic play

We try to help your child understand and cope better by playing with pretend or real medical equipment and providing opportunities to share feelings, concerns and fears.

 
Pain and stress management

We strive to ease physical, psychological and emotional pain with relaxation strategies such as guided imagery and deep breathing.

 
Creative stimulation/development

We use art, music and play activities to promote your child’s growth, maintain developmental milestones, and provide a creative outlet for dealing with emotions.

 
Bereavement services

We offer comfort, support and memorial activities for families in the event of a child’s death.

Our certified Child Life specialists are trained to understand the different ways children deal with stress, fear, confusion, anger, guilt and sadness — and help them develop coping strategies specific to their individual needs. We’re also here to provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings and other family members as needed.

Activities

Child Life Activities & Playrooms

Kids of all ages want to explore, play and laugh, no matter where they are — even the hospital. Of course, in the hospital, kids’ choices are limited. That’s why we offer lots of fun Child Life programs and activities to keep all of the children we see, from tots to teens, uplifted and entertained during even the most difficult hospital stay.

What is the Child Life Clubhouse?

Located on the third floor, around the corner from the Family Resource Center, the Child Life Clubhouse is a fun place for patients and families to escape. The Clubhouse is a safe haven away from medical procedures, equipment and exams, where specially trained Child Life technicians provide normal play activities. Our patients, their families and visitors can participate in arts and crafts, play with a wide variety of toys and games, read, play video games, take part in cooking activities and much more.

Does the hospital also have playrooms?

On each inpatient unit, you'll find a playroom that's stocked with toys and activities. Patients, families and visitors can use the playrooms to relax, visit and engage in small group activities. Please ask a Child Life staff member if you have questions about the playroom on your unit.

How do I find out which activities and events are offered and when?

From the TV in your child's room, just click on the rollercoaster located on the homepage to find out about Child Life activities and events on the GetWellNetwork Event’s Calendar.

Can my child's siblings play too?

Brothers and sisters can absolutely play too. We just ask that all siblings and visitors under 10 years old be supervised by an adult when visiting the Child Life Clubhouse Center and playrooms.

Pet Therapy Program

The hospital is always abuzz when our furry, four-legged friends join us. Trained therapy teams visit in our playrooms and at the bedside. The dogs provide a great distraction and comfort to our children and families.

Benefits of Pet Therapy

Our tail-wagging friends and their certified handlers have an important job to do — bring smiles.

Pet therapy helps to:

  • reduce stress
  • improve self-esteem
  • lower blood pressure
  • improve overall well-being

Please contact a Child Life staff member for more information.

Get Involved

Be Part of Our Child Life Program

We welcome visitors and volunteers from our community to participate in our Child Life Program.  

Pet Therapy

To find out more, contact our department at (302) 298-7047.

Community Group Visits and Community Entertainment/Performances

We always welcome groups and individuals to apply to visit the hospital, including college and high school groups, community organizations, youth groups, performers, athletes and others.

To find more information about our guidelines and requests of visiting individuals and groups, please click below on the appropriate link that most describes your type of visit.

Apply Community Group Visits and Community Entertainment/Performances


Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers help the Child Life Program in so many ways.
Find Out How to Become a Hospital Volunteer »

Make a Gift

Make a Gift or Donation

Make a Monetary Gift or Donation Online »

We’re thankful for our thoughtful and generous community, which provides us with a variety of toys, crafts, games, books and activities for kids of all ages.

Wish lists

We truly appreciate donations of new, unused toys, books, craft supplies and age-appropriate video games.

Watch Our Donation Video »

Learn More About Donating Goods and Services »

Contact Us

Phone: (302) 298-7047
Email: childlifeprograms@nemours.org

Student Opportunities

Internship and Practicum Programs

The Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children offers comprehensive Child Life internships and practicum programs open to college students and graduates during the fall and spring semesters.

In September 2016, the internship program at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children earned accreditation from the Child Life Council. This accreditation assures that our program meets the minimum standards and requirements established for clinical preparation programs in child life in the most current Official Documents of the Child Life Council as well as the Essential Curriculum Topics for Child Life Clinical Internships.

Accreditation is a voluntary two-step process of self-study and external review intended to evaluate, enhance and publicly recognize quality child life clinical internship programs, promoting the interests of students and the child life profession as a whole through continuous quality improvement of learning and professional practice.

Contact Us
Laura Mitchell, CCLS

Internship Coordinator
(302) 651-4849
laura.mitchell@nemours.org

Debbie Palley, CCLS

Practicum Coordinator
(302) 651-4849
deborah.palley@nemours.org

Contact Us

Child Life, Creative Arts Therapy and School Programs

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
Phone: (302) 298-7047