Is it Time to Trade-In Your RealCare Baby?

Which RealCare® Baby do you have?

Does your program need updating? How much would an update cost? Use this short, interactive questionnaire to answer those questions and learn how you can improve the health of your RealCare Program (and how much you could save with our RealCare Baby Trade-In Program).

Watch this video for more information on when it’s time to trade in your RealCare Baby:

Teacher Tip: Creative RealCare Baby Storage and More!

Lauren Williams currently teaches early elementary education courses, including a Parenting class, at McCracken County High School. With 19 years of teaching experience, she has a wealth of knowledge and practice working with different schools and programs. Lauren uses RealCare Baby® infant simulators in her Parenting classes and says she would recommend all teachers use the babies.

“The principle came to my room the first year I did these. He told me that a mother called him and told him it was the best project her daughter had ever completed while in high school. He’s very supportive of the program.”

Lauren spoke to us recently and shared some of her top tips and tricks for incorporating these products in your program:

“It is a wonderful site,” said Lauren. “I use the sign-up forms along with the parent permission forms.”

  • Give students more accountability over their Baby experience by using sign-up forms.

“I post sign-up forms at the beginning of the semester, and it is the student’s responsibility to write their name in for a weekend to bring a Baby home,” said Lauren.”

  • Send the Babies home for at least a 48-hour period.

“I do think it is best to do a 48-hour simulation on the weekend.  I will schedule some quiet times if a student cannot get out of work shift.  They do however have to make up the time at the end,” said Lauren. “If the simulation starts at 4 on a Friday, instead of turning off the Baby at 4 on Sunday, the time would be extended to compensate.”

  • Make the most of your students’ Baby experiences by using Baby’s software.

“I use the Infant Care Schedule Table to program active times.  I tell everyone that a 48-hour simulation will usually yield about 50 care opportunities,” said Lauren. “I look at the schedules to see when most of these care opportunities will occur and assign them appropriately.”

  • Have students download the Real Care Baby App for how-to information, FAQs, video guides for caring for Baby, safety precautions and stress management tips.

“ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS THAT HAVE HELPED MY STUDENTS AND MY SANITY!!!  I insist that all students look at the app before they text me.  I have had so many students tell me and other students that the app helped them.”

  • Find ways to organize your supplies.

“I keep all of my supplies now in a little plastic 3 drawer cabinet beside the baby bed I brought from home.  I placed the baby bed in front of an electrical outlet where I plug them in.  The car seats are stacked by the bed.”

  • Have students help with your organization process for quick pick-ups and drop-offs.

“I have students turn in the babies with both diapers on.  One on top of the other and we put the sensor bracelet down in the diaper too.  This way, all the equipment needed is in one place. They get the doll, car seat, bottle and extra clothes quickly.”

Overall, Lauren says students take away a lot from this experience in her parenting class. Her students are really excited about the babies when they pick them up on Friday, but have a change of attitude by the time they bring them back to school on Monday.

“Having a baby to take care of is not just fun and games. It is difficult being the only person that can take care of the baby. It isn’t easy trying to calm a crying child if you do not know the reason for the cry. Taking care of a baby interferes with schedules but the baby has to come first.”

Do you have old versions of RealCare Baby in your current program? Take a look at our current RealCare Baby® Trade-In Promotion. For a limited time, you can trade in any of these discontinued simulators for credit towards the latest generation RealCare Baby 3, Shaken Baby, or Pregnancy Profile® Simulator.

10 Tips for Engaging Youth in Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Parenting Education [Infographic]

By Emily Kuhn

RealCare Baby® and our other experiential learning tools have been used in community education settings for over two decades to help young people make healthy choices about teen pregnancy, relationships, life skills and more. That means we’ve had over 20 years of conversations with maternal and child health educators about program ideas, tips and best practices!

These seasoned users are doing some exciting things to engage program participants, like inviting police officers and emergency technicians to present information in person about the dangers of leaving infants unattended in hot cars, and having program participants visit big-box stores to calculate the price of diapers, formula and other infant necessities so they better understand the cost of having a baby.

Check out the infographic below for 10 ways to engage young people in teen pregnancy prevention and parenting education programs.

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What unique ideas are you implementing in your program to engage young people? Share them with other readers in the comments below!

The Importance of Making Healthy Choices

By Denise Bodart, RealCare Product Manager

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” “Stop while you’re ahead.” You’ve undoubtedly heard these familiar phrases used to communicate the importance of making healthy choices. As teachers, we want our students to learn from their mistakes – or better yet, we want to provide a strong foundation of knowledge to help them make well-educated decisions, thereby avoiding the potential negative consequences of poor choices.

A study recently published by the University of Texas at Austin, “Substance Use And Teen Pregnancy In the United States,” shares some disturbing trends among pregnant teens who are not making good choices.

The study takes a closer look at the relationship between teen pregnancy and substance abuse between the ages of 12 and 17. Becoming pregnant as a teen 12-17 is a huge challenge. The study found that this is compounded by the fact that “59% of the pregnant teens admitting to using drugs or alcohol in the previous 12 months, a rate that researchers say is nearly two times as great as non-pregnant teens.”

The choices these teens are making could have a dramatic negative impact on their future health and well-being. But these consequences are not limited to the pregnant teen involved. It can also have a devastating impact on the future of their child. Prenatal exposure to substances including drugs, alcohol and tobacco can lead to a host of physical and cognitive disabilities for the infant.

We are proud to offer a variety of products and information that help teachers provide students with the information they need to avoid the above scenario. The RealCare Drug-Affected Baby shows the possible effects of prenatal drug exposure by demonstrating withdrawal tremors and emitting the cries of a drug-addicted infant. Students learn how drugs reach the fetus and what they can do to ensure this doesn’t happen!

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With its small head circumference, narrow eye openings, flat midface and other physical abnormalities, the RealCare Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby is a simple yet powerful way to show the possible effects of prenatal alcohol use. The curriculum shares the message that there is no safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy.

By communicating the importance of making healthy choices and using tools like these simulators to get this type of information into the hands of your middle school and high school students, we can help prevent these tragic consequences. We can be part of the solution and put an end to these startling statistics.

For more information about our Drug-Affected Baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby and other infant simulators, visit our website.

How are you communicating the importance of making healthy choices to your students? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Recent Sex Ed Briefing Confirms Need for Effective Sex Education Programs

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute published a new State Policies in Brief – Sex and HIV Education report. This timely briefing contains updated statistics and information by state on key sex education mandates and metrics.

In the past decade, sex education has been in the news frequently. The new National Sexuality Education Standards were published in 2012, while federal funding underwent a fundamental shift away from abstinence-only programs. Additionally, schools have been urged to select sexuality education curricula that follow the characteristics of effective sex education developed by Douglas Kirby.

Realityworks has watched these developments with great interest, as it is part of our mission to provide educators with useful resources and experiential learning tools to help young people make good decisions. We have two comprehensive, abstinence-plus sex education curricula available that follow the Kirby principals.

On the fourth page of the State Policies in Brief – Sex and HIV Education report, you’ll find specific content requirements for sex and HIV education according to the Guttmacher Institute. Our Healthy Choices Sex Education Program curricula includes much of the content requirements found on this document. Topics such as contraception, abstinence, health decision-making, communication, and avoiding peer pressure are all part of the lessons found in Healthy Choices. In addition, the Healthy Choices curricula aligns to the National Sexuality Education Standards.

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To learn more about our Healthy Choices Sex Education Program, including a lesson sample and standard alignments, click here. Additionally, the Guttmacher Institute‘s website provides a plethora of helpful sex education resources. This organization’s goal is to advance sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education, and their website features an interactive map for state-specific information as well as a searchable database.

Why do you value comprehensive sex education in schools? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Recognize World AIDS Awareness Day in Your Classroom with These Free Resources

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Did you know that 50,000 people become newly infected with HIV each year? Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that prevention efforts have helped keep the infection rate stable recently, continued growth in the number of people living with HIV may lead to more new infections unless prevention efforts, like the recognition of World AIDS Awareness Day on December 1 each year, continue. Keep reading to learn how you can recognize this important day in your classroom.

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Realityworks’ high school and middle school sex ed curriculum contain age-appropriate activities and information about HIV and AIDS.

Established in 1998 by the World Health Organization, World AIDS Awareness Day is observed each year to help educate people around the world about HIV and AIDS. The 2014 theme for World AIDS Day is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.”  Realityworks is proud to be helping educate youth regarding the prevention of AIDS through our Healthy Choices Sex Education Program and the lessons in it that focus on HIV and AIDS. Both our high school and middle school curriculum contain age-appropriate activities and information about this important health topic.

To help educators recognize World Aids Awareness Day in their classrooms, we’ve made two tools from our sex education curriculum available in this post: an STI/STD and HIV Fact Sheet from our high school curriculum, Healthy Choices: Sexuality, Relationships and Family Planning, and an HIV & AIDS slide presentation. Both of these tools can be used in family and consumer sciences classrooms, health classrooms, teen pregnancy prevention programs and more to educate students on the prevention of AIDS.

For fact sheets, webinars, videos and other free resources, visit the World AIDS Awareness Day website here. We hope you’ll find these resources helpful and relevant as we work together to achieve an AIDs-free generation!

How are you recognizing World AIDS Awareness Day in your classroom? Share your ideas in the comments!

Must-See Highlights from the RealCare Curriculum: Trimester Development Mix-Up Activity

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

In addition to offering powerful experiential learning products, RealityworksRealCare product line also offers effective, standards-based curriculum. In a new blog series called “Must-See Highlights from the RealCare Curriculum,” we’re going to highlight various activities, lessons and free downloads from each product’s curriculum to help ensure that our product users are making the most of their tools.

Let’s start with our Pregnancy Profile Simulator, which includes the “Understanding Pregnancy” curriculum. This curriculum has many hidden gems that you might not know about!

For instance, one important part of Lesson 5 is a discussion about fetal development by trimester. As you can see from the below example, the slide presentation designed to accompany that discussion shows fetal development month by month:

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In addition to this slide presentation, we also offer a free in-class activity designed to enhance the fetal development lesson: the Trimester Development Mix-Up.

Learn more about this activity and how to utilize it in your classroom by downloading your own Trimester Characteristics handout, then reading the instructions below!

Trimester Development Mix-Up instructions:

  1. Cut each developmental characteristic listed on the Trimester Characteristics sheet following the provided dotted lines.
  2. Write “First Trimester,” “Second Trimester,” and “Third Trimester” on a marker board or chalk board.
  3. Mix up the developmental characteristics in a hat or other container, then have each participant take turns drawing one and deciding which trimester it belongs in.
  4. Write the characteristic on the board under the trimester the participant chose, or tape the papers on the board and move as needed.
  5. After all the characteristics have been assigned, hand out the Trimester Development sheet and discuss each trimester. Change the lists so they are correct as you discuss each characteristic.

Discussion questions:

  • Does one trimester have more characteristics than another? Which one?
  • Which trimester is the most important? (All three are equally important, but major organs and systems form mostly in the first trimester.)

This activity could also be part of a day that includes guest speakers brought in to discuss pregnancy, labor and delivery. Speakers could feature:

  • A panel of women currently at various stages of pregnancy
  • Obstetrician from a local clinic
  • Ultrasound technician

You could use this activity in a unit on human growth and development, pregnancy, or health occupations.

How do you envision using the Trimester Development Mix-Up Activity in your classroom? Share your ideas in the comments!

Why have US teen birth rates plummeted? Sex education may be one answer.

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

A brand-new report has just been published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics that traces the decline in the U.S. teen birth rate from 1992-2013. Although there is no clear-cut reason for the historic 57% decrease that the report documents, a number of factors have contributed to these numbers.

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Some of the factors that an article in yesterday’s HealthDay blog, part of the CBS News network, offer as reasons for this decline include:

  • The fact that teens have access to and are using effective methods of contraception.
  • The fact that teens today are less likely to have sex.
  • The fact that reality shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” paint teen pregnancy as sobering, and have likely have contributed to the steep decline in recent years.

Bill Albert, Chief Program Officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, offers in the article that “teenagers’ caution regarding sex might be tied to the federal government’s investment in tried-and-true sex education programs.”

Realityworks is proud to offer a comprehensive sex education program for middle and high school students. The Healthy Choices Sex Education Program, which is aligned to National Sexuality Education standards and Health Education standards, includes two comprehensive curricula that incorporate the following experiential learning tools into unforgettable lesson plans:

Whether educators choose to use our sex education program or another available educational resource, we applaud the people who work every day to teach our young people to make healthy life decisions.

What factors do you think have contributed to the decline of the U.S. teen birth rate? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Helping Students Reach Their Full Potential: A Training Experience in East Africa

by Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Every now and then, the stars align and things are meant to be. Such was the case for me recently, when an opportunity arose for me to travel to a Realityworks customer school in East Africa.

My youngest daughter was completing a service internship in Arusha, Tanzania this summer and I already had plans to meet her there to go on a safari. A few weeks before I was scheduled to leave, I had a conversation with our international business consultant that changed my itinerary.

Apparently, a school in East Africa had just placed a significant order for the entire Total Parenting Experience (TPE) program and it was located in Arusha – the same city my daughter was residing in! Since I was going to be “in the neighborhood” anyway, it was decided that I would do a live training at the school.

Students at the School of St. Jude
In July 2014, Realtyworks RealCare Product Manager Denise Bodart conducted Total Parenting Experience program training at the School of St. Jude in the Arusha region of Tanzania, East Africa.

The School of St Jude is a charity-funded school that provides a free, high-quality primary and secondary education to children in the Arusha region of Tanzania, East Africa. It was founded by Australian native Gemma Sisia in 2002, who, at 22 years old, decided that free, high-quality education was the strongest weapon in the fight against poverty and should be the right of all children around the world. Gemma worked tirelessly with friends, family and Rotary programs to raise funds, and opened her school in 2002 with three students.

The school has since grown to encompass three campuses, where it provides free, high-quality education to over 1,800 students. Part of that education includes lessons on pregnancy prevention and making informed life decisions, which the school is using our TPE program to help teach.

I arrived to provide training on the program a day early, and was greeted by their visitor team. That day I toured two campuses, ate lunch with the students, visited the home of one student and met with staff members. Each campus is a jewel in an area of great poverty and poor educational outcomes.

School of St. Jude

The School of St. Jude provides free, high-quality education to over 1,800 East African students.

My tour of the school took me into classrooms of all ages. There, everything is taught in English and the students are bright, articulate and very curious. They were all eager to talk and share what they were learning. I was warmly greeted by everyone I met!

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A group of St. Jude students enjoy a morning snack of tea, bread and fruit., followed by recess on the primary student campus.

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Students have ample swing sets and slides, and play soccer and other outdoor activities as well.

During my tour of the upper level campus, the student artwork was amazing. They have some talent there! In addition to rigorous core classes, instruction in art, music and physical education is also included.

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The School of St. Jude offers rigorous academic classes plus instruction in art, music and physical education.

The highlight of my first day was visiting the home of an upper-campus student. It is a privilege to meet the families of these marvelous students. The middle- and high school-level students board on campus, returning home on breaks and some weekends. In order to reach the home I was to visit, we were driven by one of the many school vans. We drove well over 45 minutes through potholes, hills, sprawling villages and a river (where we were briefly stuck) until we reached the home of Noah.

There, we were warmly welcomed by his grandmother, who served us tea, a common tradition in Tanzania. Through an interpreter we spoke about our families, customs and the impact that St. Jude’s had on the family. When participating in a home visit, it is highly encouraged to purchase a “welcome package” of staples like rice, mosquito nets and tea.

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Like many students, Noah boards on campus and returns home on breaks and some weekends.

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Noah resides with his grandmother about 45 minutes from the School of St. Jude. To ensure that it benefits as many families as possible, the school only accepts a single student from any family.

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During my visit, I presented Noah’s grandmother with a “welcome package” of rice, mosquito nets and tea.

Want to learn more about my trip and the impact our Total Parenting Experience program will have on St. Jude’s School? Stay tuned for my next post, in which I will detail how students are selected to attend the school, and how it will use the TPE package to help educate students on the importance of making good life decisions to ensure they reach their full potential!

Editor’s Note: In two now-published posts, Denise concludes her African training experience. Read those posts here and here!

Conquering “Baby Fever” Through Education

Recently, a study published in the American Sociological Review indicated that young women have babies in a “contagious” manner. Published on May 29, the study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States and tracked the childbearing behaviors of 1,700 women from the age of 15 to the age of 30.

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The average age at first birth for women in the study was just over 27-years-old. There was an extremely high level of synchronicity in childbearing and apparently fertility among women that knew each other in high school

For more information about this article and research study, click here.

These new findings are somewhat alarming because teen pregnancy in the United States is still an issue. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the teen birth rate in the US has hit an all-time low, but it is still double that of 20 other industrialized nations.

How can we combat the “group think” that this new research study has uncovered? The answer is education. We need to empower our young people to make educated decisions based on knowledge and facts, not emotions. We don’t want to scare students into not wanting children at all, but understand all of the aspects that they need to consider. We want to give them the tools and resources for answering that important question: When is the right time for me to have a child?

The internet is full of websites and articles touting advice on the best time to have a baby. This article recommends looking at expectations, values, family history, and how your life could change.

The lesson plans in RealityworksRealCare curricula are also full of good information to help students with the choices they will need to make on parenting. Specifically, the Understanding Pregnancy curriculum take students through an extensive exercise wherein they identify their goals and values, asking themselves how pregnancy would impact these plans. The RealCare curricula includes a lesson on the cost of having a baby. Students research the realistic financial impact of having a child as a teen and discover that they are not ready.

Here are six areas of personal readiness your students should consider:

  • Relationship Readiness
  • Financial Readiness
  • Emotional Readiness
  • Social Readiness
  • Intellectual Readiness
  • Physical Readiness

How do you educate your own students to make informed decisions regarding sexual activity?