Child Development Class Uses Real Care Babies


Isabelle Phillips

Students in Dalinda Cassel’s child development class are using Real Care babies. The baby dolls are set to cry for various reasons to teach the students the joys of parenthood.

She wakes up to the sound of her baby crying. She looks at the clock– it is only two in the morning this time. She climbs out of bed and comforts the infant as she thinks of how tired she will be at school the next day. She puts the baby back in the carrier and logs the time for her assignment.

The child development class at the high school is learning about the joys of parenthood. The students are participating in a experiment using Real Care Babies, a lifelike baby-doll. Child development teacher Dalinda Cassell hopes it will teach the students the responsibility of parenthood while going along with her lessons.

“We are taking home the Real Care babies,” Cassell said. “So students get an idea of what it would be like to care for an infant.  They pick the baby after school and bring the baby back to me the next morning.”

The students only care for their baby one night, so as not to affect their school work and extra-curriculars. During their night with the doll students will keep a diary of their experience to keep track of how many times they feed, change and console it.

“I want students to understand that raising a child is the most important thing they will do as an adult,” Cassell said. “Parent’s  have a major impact on the child’s intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development.”

“Most students will tell me that they have a new perspective on parenting,” Cassell said.  “They didn’t realize how tiring parenthood could be and how much they respect their parents.”

Cassell has made sure this task will not be easy, she has set the babies to go off every three hours. She hopes the experiment will teach the students how to prioritize their time to juggle school, work and parenting responsibilities.

“Last year I saw all the kids that were taking this class with babies and it made me want to take this class,” sophomore Addison Haxton said. “After my friend took hers home this year and told me how awful it was an I became very nervous. When my day came I got home with the baby and right away it started crying and not a soft cry –a full on scream.”

This experience showed Haxton what it takes to raise a child. Though the students only keep the babies for one night, it is a long one. At three in the morning Haxton realized how much her parents do for her and found a new appreciation for parents everywhere.

“From this experience I learned what it takes to be a parent,” Haxton said. “I never understood how difficult and time consuming it is to raise kids, but I now understand the struggles our parents face. When being a parent you have to drop whatever your doing to care for your child and that’s exactly what I had to do every minute of the night.”