In March, Russian clinical psychologist from Federal Oncohematology Pediatric Center (Dima Rogachev Center, Moscow) Ekaterina Stefanenko begun her courses in pursuit for Child Life Certificate. She will become the first certified psychologist in Russia with the help of gracious donors and supporters of Podari.Life Inc. Ms Stefanenko’s education was initiated by our sister charity from Russia - Podari Zhizn Foundation.

Child Life qualification is a special psychology degree certified by Child Life Council. Training provides professionals with extra knowledge and skills to work with children in hospital care.

"This qualification is a critical part of the childhood cancer cure, - says Ekaterina. Cancer patients need to spend months in a ward where every aspect of known life is different and sometime scary. Clinical psychologist assists kids and helps them to cope with challenges of hospital care, illness and severe change in their daily life".

She underlines that Child Life model is play-based, explanatory practice that prepares children for complex manipulations through joy and storytelling.

Child Life model has emerged in the West after The Great War, then many wounded and sick children ascended to hospitals for surgery or general care. It soon became evident, that neither doctors nor nurses could cope with child frustrations, fears and lack of normal, playful and educational activity every kid expects at an age. Emma Plank, a colleague and friend of Maria Montessori, the founder of humanitarian pedagogy, laid foundations for Child Life methods. Her work and the endeavors of her students and followers expanded the idea: to help children and their parents to cope with a harshness and burden of hospital procedures and isolation.

"Modern day Child Life practice includes different components, says Ekaterina Stefanenko. "First, there's a set of tools and techniques that psychologist uses to help to overcome the loneliness and at least partial separation with family. Second, psychologist needs to explain to a child what is going on. It's both the nature of his illness and the manipulations that doctors apply to they. Finally, psychologist is there to manage child's reaction to countless limitations and restrictions that cancer treatment establishes".

Child Life method arms the professional with a valuable arsenal of proven successful tools, Stefanenko adds.

Ekaterina Stefanenko is a graduate of Moscow State University, with merits, in Clinical Psychology. She works at Dima Rogachev Center for 4 years. After a graduation from the program she will return to Moscow and becomes the first certified Child Life psychologist in Russia.

We will keep you updated on Ekaterina's progress.