Mrs. Christensen’s favorite project is coming again and that’s the baby project. This is her 20th year teaching child development with the aid of empathy bellies and computerized babies. The empathy belly simulates the body changes during pregnancy and how that affects the ability to do activities such as walking stairs and sitting comfortably. The computerized babies are a unique learning aid when studying early childhood, parenting, and infant health. During the overnight simulation experience the students must determine whether the baby needs feeding, burping, rocking, or changing. They also are expected to dress the baby appropriately for weather and outside temperature, handle baby correctly, and respond to the babies’ cries for care. At the end of the simulation, Mrs. Christensen will receive a detailed assessment report which records how the students treated them tracking care events, abuse, surrounding temperatures, time in a car seat, and clothing changes. In addition to the computerized report, students are required to keep a journal in which they document when care was administered and what type of care the baby needed.
The biggest challenge for the students is being woken up during the evening to care for the baby. Students also comment on how others look at them when they are caring for a baby in public since they do look real. Students must carry the baby in an infant car seat and remember the diaper bag, which can get cumbersome and heavy, while trying to carry other items. The most challenging thing for Mrs. Christensen is making sure all the babies are charged and functioning properly. If a student has a problem with the baby during a simulation, the students are able to contact the teacher and resolve the issue that way.