Thanks to the support of the Wyoming Valley West Educational Foundation, students at Wyoming Valley West High School are experiencing firsthand what it is like to be a parent and what their lives might look like if they became pregnant as teenagers.
The Foundation recently purchased 3 “Real Care Baby” infant simulators (www.realityworks.com/products/realcare-baby) for Regina Kozokas’s Family and Consumer Science classes. Ms. Kozokas submitted a grant application to the Foundation and was awarded funding in October 2016.
“We wanted students to understand that caring for an infant is not like playing with a doll, that there’s real responsibility involved in child care, and that parenting is harder than it seems. The goal of the exercise is to get our students to think twice before they engage in activity that might result in an unplanned pregnancy,” states Elizabeth Dal Santo, Executive Director of the Wyoming Valley West Educational Foundation.
“Real Care Baby” infant simulators engage users by crying to be fed, burped, rocked, or changed. Each simulator contains a monitor that holds users accountable by tracking, measuring, and reporting on care events, mishandling (including Shaken Baby Syndrome, proper head support, and wrong sleep positions), surrounding temperatures, time in a car seat, and clothing changes. After students learn the basics of baby care in a classroom setting, they have an option to take one of the babies home for 48 hours. The experience goes from fun to serious and difficult in a very short time when the students realize that parenting is an “always on” proposition and they are not able to participate in activities that are part of their regular everyday existence.
The Wyoming Valley West Educational Foundation is a non-profit, 501 c(3) organization established in July 2014 to enhance the educational opportunities for students in all grade levels and to create initiatives that support imaginative educator and student programs.