Experiential Learning with Children: An Essential Component of Professional Physical Therapy Education

Joseph Schreiber, Victoria A. Moerchen, Mary Jane Rapport, Kathy Martin, Jennifer Furze, Heather Lundeen, Eric Pelletier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Using 6 exemplars the authors describe and advocate for experiential learning in pediatrics for professional physical therapist students. Models for providing this experience and barriers that faculty might encounter are addressed. Research questions are put forth for future study. Purpose: The Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association has developed a number of resources to support and improve the consistency of professional pediatric physical therapy education, including a set of core competencies that all graduates must attain. The purpose of this article is to advocate for the inclusion of experiential learning activities with children, including children with participation restrictions, as a necessary component to achieve the core competencies. Key Points: Experiential learning is a form of practice-based education that provides exposures and opportunities for students to explore the work, roles, and identities they will encounter as future professionals. Experiential learning is learning by doing, and occurs within a relevant setting. Six representative curricular exemplars are presented to provide readers with a variety of suggestions for development and integration of experiential learning. Summary: Recommendations for future research are provided and 4 key recommendations are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-367
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Physical Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 25 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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