Students in Human Growth and Development spend their weekends with Real Care babies

Human Growth and Development Students have been taking home Real Care babies, as party of a class project, since March


By Payton Ross

Teaching the class how to take care of their fake babies, Human Growth and Development teacher Ellen Gray shows off her baby via zoom on Dec. 4.

Lauryn Daly, JAG reporter/photographer

The RealCare baby project has been taking place since March. Human Growth and Development teacher Ellen Gray explained what the RealCare babies are.

“RealCare babies are used in Human Growth and Development to give high school students the ability to see the challenges of being a parent, but especially being a teen parent,” Gray said. “Typically, students are very excited to take the baby home, but they quickly realize they aren’t ready to be a parent any time soon.”

Taking care of the babies is no easy task, and Gray says there are many things that go into taking care of the babies.

“Students need to rock the baby when it is fussy or a mishandle (head support, rough handling, shaken baby) occurs. The student is also responsible for feeding the baby a bottle, burping the baby, and changing its diaper.  The student will also be responsible for using a car seat appropriately to transport the baby in a car,” Gray said.

While taking care of the baby, there are many things that can cause loss of points.

“Once the baby starts crying if it takes longer than two minutes to figure out what care it needs it will take off two points.  Students can also lose points for mishandling the baby.  Each wrong position (putting the baby on its stomach), head support and rough handling is 3 points off the score.  If the baby registers ‘shaken baby’ it will reduce 15 points off the score,” Gray said.

Two students including freshman Kaitlyn Andrews and junior Carly Hey shared how their experience with the RealCare Baby went. 

“I think I did good overall. My favorite part of taking care of the baby was picking out all of the supplies. You get to pick out it’s clothes, carrier, etc. I also funny enough liked the feeling of taking care of a human being, it made me feel responsible,” Andrews said.

Hey also shared her experience with the baby.

“I did pretty well, I didn’t think it was too hard. I was excited, until it was really happening and I had to actually take the baby home,” Hey said.

The RealCare babies have a special schedule, according to Gray.

“Babies turn on Friday at 4 p.m. and are left on until Monday morning at 5 a.m.  Each student is allowed two hours of quiet time where the baby is turned off, and won’t need care,” Gray said.

According to Andrews, there are many challenges throughout the day and night.

“It was hard waking up in the middle of the night because you’re in a deep sleep but then you have to tend to a baby that’s crying,” Andrews said. “It’s also challenging burping it at times. I would sometimes have hand cramps from doing the same motion for a few minutes. A lesson I mainly learned was to not have kids as a teen. It’s fun for a bit but overall it can be challenging.”

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