'Virtual babies' provide a lesson at Albany Academy

LESSON IN CARING: Albany Academy pupils with their ‘babies’

LESSON IN CARING: Albany Academy pupils with their ‘babies’

First published in News

High school students were given an idea of what it is like to be a parent by taking care of “virtual” babies.

Albany Academy’s Year 11 Child Development group each had to take home a state of the art virtual baby for the weekend, got to experience what it was like to be the parent of a young child.

The virtual babies, which behave just like their real-life counterparts, require feeding, nappy changes and plenty of love and attention, were part of the GCSE course the pupils are undertaking.

The babies, which are fitted with an internal computer, can track response times to feeding and nappy changes.

They can also measure whether they are held right with the neck supported and their comfort levels.

Pupils were scored out of 100 with scores below 50 indicating the child had been neglected and scores above 90 indicating the child had all its needs met.

The Albany pupils scored an average of 90 per cent, with Megan Smith achieving the highest score with 96 per cent. Cheryl Speak from the You’re Amazing CIC organisation said: “This group of students have done exceptionally, we would usually expect scores of around 90 during residential activity where two people are caring for the baby.

“The aim of this programme is not to put young people off having children, but to give them an insight into the demands of parenthood while supporting them to create life goals that can incorporate family and career at a time they choose.”

Jennifer Parry the Child Development course teacher said “I am very impressed with the excellent level of care given to the babies. “The pupils mostly enjoyed the experience and some even wanted another go.

“They all agreed however that parenthood was something they would plan to leave until they were in their late 20s or 30s.”

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