Childcare simulations provide students with a firsthand look at the responsibilities of caring for an infant around the clock. While many schools use surrogate objects like eggs or two-liter soda bottles for these exercises, advanced infant simulators like the Ready-or-Not Tot Parenting Simulator offer students a more immersive and realistic experience.
High school teacher Jay Levine has been incorporating Ready-or-Not Tots in his life skills classes, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. According to Jay, “The seniors who took the Tots home loved the experience, sparking enthusiastic conversations throughout the school. This hands-on activity has become a popular choice among our students.”
Explore further to discover some of the innovative ways Jay has integrated Ready-or-Not Tots into his curriculum and get more ideas for your classroom. You’ll find creative applications that address pregnancy prevention, childcare career paths, life skills, psychology, sociology, and more.
Infant simulator activities
- Before providing students with their infant simulators, have them write about what they think caring for an infant will be like. Then, have them do this same exercise after caring for their Ready-or-Not Tot for a week. Use questions such as the following:
- What type of care and attention does a baby need?
- How much time would it take to care for an infant?
- What feelings would you have when your infant is doing different things?
- What would your stress levels be like during the day and night while caring for an infant?
- How would caring for an infant around the clock change your life?
- After caring for their infant simulators, have students write answer to reflection questions, such as the following:
- What was easy?
- What was challenging?
- What surprised you?
- What are some things you learned about yourself from this experience?
- What are some insights you gained about parenthood from this experience?
- Discuss the psychological effects of sleep deprivation. Have students keep a journal to record their feelings, thought patterns, energy levels, etc., as they care for their infant simulators day and night.
- Have students write a budget for caring for an infant for one month, including food, clothing, diapers, childcare, etc., without doing any research. Then, have them research costs and write a second budget. How close were their first budgets to reality?
- Discuss traditional gender roles and ask students how they feel the division of childcare labor should be split between partners, regardless of gender. Discuss emotional labor and how it factors into the division of labor.
Say “goodbye” to egg babies
Give your students a realistic infant simulator that requires round-the-clock care with Ready-or-Not Tots.
- Let students discover how pregnancy feels and affects women with The Empathy Belly® Pregnancy Simulator, which simulates 20 symptoms and effects of pregnancy, including weight gain, shortness of breath, abdominal pressure, and more.
- Have students research maternity and paternity leave policies in different countries around the world. Then hold a debate on whether or not the government should give new mothers and fathers three months of paid leave. Before you assign sides, have students write down which side they agree with. Then, randomly assign sides and pair students up to debate the issue. Afterward, have them reflect on the debate and write whether they changed their mind or are still on the same side.
- Have students research different parenting styles and their effects on child development. Put students in jigsaw groups to share what they learned. Then, have them write a reflection essay on what type of parent they would like to be and provide examples of how they would use their chosen parenting style.
- Ready-or-Not Tots are equipped with a tamper light that indicates the infant was dropped or mishandled in some way. Have students research the effects of trauma on infant brain development. Guide them with the following questions:
- What does a healthy growth environment look like for an infant?
- What types of traumas can an infant experience?
- How does an infant’s brain react to trauma? How do we know this?
- What challenges can early trauma pose for children as they grow?
- How can childcare and healthcare workers help prevent infant trauma?
- What is the purpose of early intervention?
- Ask students to research and report on how socioeconomic status impacts child development. Does socioeconomic status have an impact on infant mortality?
- Have students watch the Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes Experiment and discuss nature versus nurture. Which do they think has more influence on how children develop?
- Have students interview their parents or caregivers about what it’s like to care for babies. What were the hardest parts? What were the most rewarding parts?
- Discuss postpartum depression. What are the symptoms, how does it affect daily life, and how can it be treated? Then have students research postpartum support available for new moms in different countries. Which country do they think has the best support for new moms?
Tips for running your infant simulation project
Ready-or-Not Tots come with several templates to make implementation easy, including communication forms. Use the following tips to communicate about your infant simulator activities and make your lessons run smoothly.
- Have students sign a contract that provides an understanding of the cost and responsibility they are taking on with school property.
- Make sure you notify parents before embarking on any infant simulator activities, as students will be expected to care for the infants around the clock, which could disrupt family life. Let them know how the simulator works, what to expect, and detail the benefits of the activities so that parents understand the learning objectives. You’ll also want to make it clear that their students are also responsible for school property and will be held liable for damages.
- Send a note to other staff members in the building, letting them know about the activity and apologizing in advance for any disruptions the infant simulators might cause during their class times (sending your note with a little chocolate never hurt).
Empowering students through real-world learning
By integrating Ready-or-Not Tot Parenting Simulators into the classroom, you can empower students with essential life skills, career inspiration, psychological insights, and sociological awareness. These immersive experiences prompt students to reflect on parenthood, pregnancy prevention, and family dynamics, all while gaining a comprehensive understanding of childcare responsibilities.