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Child Life & Music Therapy

We help make hospitalization a more positive experience through play, preparation, music and creative arts.
Child Life

ProgramE-mail Address

Amanda Lascelle


Bernadette Sanchez

Emergency Department

Catherine Leung

Burn Program

Catia Stuart

Creative Arts Program

Claire Brown

Inpatient Units

Dawn McKellar

Inpatient Units‎

Giuli De Vito


Heather Denton

Oncology Program

Joanne Hochu


PICU and interim professional practice leader

Kristina Jackson

Oncology Clinic

Lisa Knight

MDU/Lab, Dog Therapy Program

Reyna Webb

Medical Imaging

Kirsten Farquharson
Medical Imaging

Rita Marchildon

Inpatient Units / Renal Unit

Tracy Denhoed

Oncology Program

Jannie Ngo

CLICK, MDU/Lab, Upopolis 

Lauren Jackie 
Anesthetic Care Unit (Child Life Fellow)

Child life promotes coping through various interventions to help children, youth and families with stressful events. Providing play and other normal activities can help with this coping process. Child life programs endeavour to meet each family’s unique emotional and social needs. 

Child life programs typically offer several services to address the social and emotional needs of children, youth and families:


  • therapeutic and recreational play opportunities;
  • age-appropriate activities and explanations;
  • preparation before and support during and after stressful events;
  • opportunities for peer socialization;
  • coping techniques, such as distraction, breathing, relaxation techniques, for procedures;
  • coordination of holiday events, entertainment and special visitors;
  • advocacy for family-centered care

A therapeutic hospital clown is a professional entertainer who has been thoroughly trained in the specifics of working in a hospital environment – physical hygiene, emotional hygiene, infection control, confidentiality and professional etiquette. The therapeutic clown works on a regular basis (for example, once a week) and is directly responsible to the Child Life Department. The clown is fully briefed by the child life specialists before engaging with the patients, and understands that the wishes and needs of the child takes priority over those of the clown.

“Ms. Phizzio Fit – Frizzio Therapist” or “Fizzie” as many of the children fondly refer to her, began at Children’s in 2004. In 2013, we saw the addition of a second therapeutic clown, “Cosmo.” “Fizzie” and “Cosmo” come into the hospital weekly to spend time with inpatients. They also visit outpatient clinics.

For more information, refer to the Canadian Association of Therapeutic Clowns website.

The Dog Visitation Program’s purpose is to support the psychosocial needs of children and families in hospital by providing them with: 

  • Opportunities to experience unconditional acceptance and affection between dogs and individuals.
  • Relief from stress and anxiety of hospitalization.
  • Normalized opportunities for socialization and diversion.
  • A normalized activity that children can look forward to on a regular basis.
  • Activities that increase patient responsiveness.
  • Activities that ease loneliness, boredom and isolation.
  • Meaningful, normalized sensory stimulation.

Please contact Lisa Knight for more information about the Dog Visitation Program. 

For more information on the academic requirements of becoming a child life specialist please contact Christine Slavik at the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of the Fraser Valley.  

For further information about the professional requirements of becoming a child life specialist please see The Association of Child Life Professionals.  

Volunteers and students are also an integral part of child life service. If you would like to volunteer, see Volunteer with Us.

If you would like a list of toys, games and other items the Child Life Department needs in their play areas and units, please see our wishlist. You are also able to give online through our hospital foundation. 

Due to infection control guidelines, we regret that we cannot accept any used toys or books for patient care areas.

The Sunny Bear Birthday Club helps your child donate their birthday presents to the patients and families of the hospital. 

Thank you to our donors. Without you, we wouldn't be able to do what we do. 

For general inquiries please contact our departmental secretary:

Giuli DeVito
604-453-8300 local 7648 

For departmental inquiries please contact our interim professional practice leader:

Joanne Hochu
6048752345 local 7687


Procedural Preparation


We believe children and youth need to understand what is happening to them. A child life specialist can help children and youth understand their experiences and feelings through play, education and support.


Music Therapy

Music therapists are accomplished musicians with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in music therapy. The Canadian Association for Music Therapy offers professional accreditation and is the governing body for Canadian music therapists.

Music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. 

The music therapist uses live and recorded music, song writing, and other musical activities to promote self-expression, relaxation, pain management, healthy development, and of course, fun! 

Currently music therapy is available for patients in the Oncology Program and to inpatient adolescents. 



E-mail Address

Brooke Angus

Youth / Inpatient Units

Carol Wiedemann

PICU / Burn Program

Erin Johnston

Oncology Program

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