Child Life’s Award-Winning Teddy Bear Clinic Research Project

teddy bear clinicThis past Spring, members of the College of Charleston’s Master of Science in Child Life (MSCL) traveled to the Southeastern School Behavioral Health Conference to present their research project during the event’s poster session. The 2019 research project focused on introducing an interactive teddy bear clinic to preschool-aged children. This same poster session was also presented during the College of Charleston’s Graduate Poster Session competition, and it won the People’s Choice Award.

teddy bear clinicTeddy bear clinics have widely been used to educate children about medical procedures and settings. Children use their stuffed animals as patients and practice common procedures with realistic medical materials. This educational intervention has been proven to alleviate anxiety and fear surrounding medical tools, procedures and environments. However, there has been little research to determine the effectiveness of a teddy bear clinic as a health education methodology specifically for preschoolers. As a result, the 2019 MSCL cohort decided it was time to get some real data for this age group.

The College of Charleston is home to the Early Childhood Development Center, an early childhood educational facility for ages two through kindergarten. The MSCL students utilized this resource for their research project, focusing on the four and five year old classes. The researchers implemented traditional teddy bear clinic practices while also administering a pre-test and post-test to determine the medical knowledge gained by the teddy bear clinic. With a successful trial run of an interactive teddy bear clinic, the researchers hope to develop an educational tool that can easily be implemented in other preschool classrooms.

The 2019 research project from the MSCL cohort is a perfect example of the type of work a Certified Child Life Specialist does and the impact they can have on these young, impressionable minds. It also wonderfully demonstrates the curriculum of the college’s MS in Child Life. It is no wonder it won the People’s Choice Award at the college’s poster session.

For more information about the Child Life program at the University of Charleston, South Carolina, do not hesitate to contact us.


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