Letter to Parents and Guardians

FCS 7th Grade
Room #412
RealCare Baby Project
Dear Parents/Guardians:
Our school is fortunate to have the new RealCare Baby Program underway. I
hope each of you will take full advantage of the experience this program can offer to the
whole family.
The seventh grade Human Development students will be participating in a
pregnancy deterrence program. The project includes a parenting simulation using an
electronic, computerized vinyl doll called RealCare Baby. The doll requires care
throughout the day and night. The Baby’s schedule is based on a schedule of a real
The parenting simulation is designed to help young adults understand three
important facts about babies: (1) Babies’ demands are unpredictable and must be met
promptly, (2) Babies require a great deal of time and attention, and (3) Babies change a
parent’s life profoundly. The program helps young adults explore the physical,
emotional, social, and financial consequences of parenthood.
The assigned “parent” will wear a hospital type bracelet with an ID attached, and
will be required to carry the RealCare Baby (along with an infant seat and full supplied
diaper bag) with them for a 48-72 hour period. The infant simulator or “Baby” will cry at
random, unpredictable times 24 hours a day. The student responds to the cry by touching
their ID to the contact point in Baby’s back. The students must then figure out what kind
of care the Baby needs. The Baby may need to be fed, burped, rocked, or have its diaper
changed. Baby will also make “happy” and “fussy” noises for brief periods of time that
do not require care or use of the ID. Baby will also cry if held in a position it does not
like, if it is roughly handled or abused, or if the head is not properly supported.
Although the Baby may disrupt your household for a few days just as a real baby
would, I’m sure you will agree the valuable lessons your child will learn far outweigh a
few days of possible inconvenience. In order for this to be a positive learning experience
for your son/daughter, we ask for your support in helping to monitor student participation
while they are at home. It will be your child’s responsibility to keep Baby safe and cared
for. You can help by providing emotional support and treating Baby as if it were real.
Your insistence that they alone care for their RealCare Baby will help to impress upon
them the tremendous demands that a baby places on a parent’s time, energy, and social
life. Most important, expect the experience to offer many opportunities to discuss issues
such as dating, marriage, parenthood, etc. These are conversations we all try to have with
young adults, but often we or they are too busy, the topic isn’t easy to approach, or it
sounds too much like lecturing. This is a perfect time for those discussions.
The RealCare Baby is a very expensive educational tool and is not to be taken
lightly. You and your child will be held responsible for the Baby and accompanying
equipment. If the RealCare Baby or other equipment is not returned promptly and in
good condition the replacement cost will be charged to you and your child.
As part of this project students will also watch video interviews of teen parents
discussing how their lives have changed and their worries for their future. Students who
do not carry the doll will be required to do a research project on specific topics that they
can sign up for in class. The research paper will be an out-of-school assignment and
must be two pages. A rubric will be distributed to students who do not participate in the
RealCare Baby simulation experience. Some examples of topics would be reports on
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Sleeping Patterns for Infants, Budgeting for a Baby, etc.
This project is not morally judgmental, but will help students face the reality of
teenage pregnancy and its consequences in order to make appropriate decisions. Please
sign the form below, which indicates that you have read this letter and give permission to
your son/daughter to participate in this pregnancy deterrence project. If you have any
questions or concerns, or would like to review the curriculum please feel free to call me
at school (Ext. 7412) or e-mail me at [email protected]
Mary Edmiston
Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher
(Cut at Line and Return Bottom Portion Only)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I HAVE READ THE ABOVE INFORMATION AND GIVE PERMISSION FOR MY
_____ Parenting simulation with RealCare Baby electronic, computerized doll
(Student will need to pass an instructional readiness quiz to qualify. If student
returns Baby early or cancels Baby, an alternative project will be due within five school
_____ Research paper on chosen topic from a list of topics related to teen pregnancy
(Student may write about their topic as an alternative assignment that is an equal
amount of work and will be given as a subsititue for this project. Research paper of two
pages in length and must include a bibliography – rubrics will be distributed)
***All Alternative Projects are due by __________________, late projects will lose 5
points, projects will not be accepted for credit after ______________.
Signed: _____________________________
Child’s Name: ________________________
Date: ____________
Class Period: ______