The sound of crying babies filled the air at Monday’s USD 257 board meeting.
They weren’t actual babies, but computerized dolls used in Iola High School’s Family and Consumer Sciences Class to teach high school students how to be good parents. The district was able to use a grant to purchase some equipment for its “Early Childhood” pathway.
Students brought in three babies, all with very different characteristics, to teach different parenting skills.
IHS student Jacob Skahan demonstrated how to save a baby from choking, and how to perform CPR. He demonstrated on a doll that had a marble lodged in its throat.
Skahan sat down in a chair and turned the baby onto its stomach with its bottom raised higher than its head. Then, he gave a series of smacks to the baby’s back until the marble popped out.
To demonstrate CPR, Skahan used his fingers to perform chest compressions.
McKenna Orear and instructor Breanna Floyd demonstrated the damage caused when a baby is shaken. Floyd did the actual shaking because “the kids get nervous when they have to shake the baby.”
The doll featured a computerized, clear plastic head with flashing red lights. As Floyd shook the baby, Orear explained how the lights showed what type of damage was being caused to the infant. The back of the head lit up first, and more lights appeared as Floyd continued to shake.
“Now it has cognitive and behavioral issues,” Orear explained. “Even a light shaking can cause serious damage.”
The students then introduced board members to the “Real Care” baby. The doll is a computerized simulation students take home and care for as if it were a real infant.
The simulation lasts between 12 to 14 hours and can include a variety of problems. Some babies cry in the middle of the night — “which is very, very annoying,” Jake said. They might require care like a bottle feeding, diaper change or simply being rocked.
“When you wake up in the middle of the night, you’re freaking out. You’re running around trying to get everything you need. It’s a constant rush. So it kind of prepares you for later stages in life and taking care of a child,” Jake said.
“It’s a very good experience.”
Student Kelli Stogsdill gave a different type of presentation, showing off some of the clothing items she had made.
Student Tabitha Graham, president of the FCCLA club, then talked about the group’s activities and fundraisers. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the group to modify its community service outreach, but members were able to ring the bell for the Salvation Army at Christmastime, and made Easter baskets for residents of a local nursing home and for some children in the community.
IN OTHER news, the board:
Approved a retreat with the Bowlus Fine Arts Center commission in June at a venue near Louisburg.
Approved joining a virtual education program offered by the Greenbush cooperative. The program, for grades K-8, will provide remote learning next year for students who need to be quarantined or work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Approved spending $47,530 for a 2018 Ford Transit 10-passenger van.