My students need Ready Or Not Tot dolls, to experience what it would be like to be a teen parent since our teen pregnancy rate is so high.
The teen pregnancy rate in Santa Cruz County is the highest in Arizona. Arizona is 12th in the nation for teen pregnancy. Sex Education is part of the health curriculum. One optional project that is available for my 8th grade health class is to take a baby(Ready-or-not Tot) home to care for and then to write an essay about their experiences. The expectation is that the baby will go wherever they go - to the store, sleep in their room, etc. The goal is for students to learn that it would be difficult to be a teen parent and hopefully encourage them to think before they become sexually active.
The majority of our students are Hispanic and we are a high poverty school.
We are a middle school in a small community about 10 minutes north of the Mexican border. Our students are very respectful and a joy to teach. Many of them face difficult obstacles in their lives. They live in single parent homes, homes with both parents working, so consequently they are left unsupervised. Also, due to the culture, the subject of sexuality is not usually discussed.
Our schedule is set up in such a way that I have a group of students for 9 weeks (a quarter) and then they switch electives. I reach 144 8th graders during a school year. The "baby project" is for 8th graders only. Right now I have one "Ready-or-not Tot" baby for the students to take turns taking it home. I am asking for a donation of 2 more. With the additional babies I could have 3 different students take them home the same day and we could have them collaborate and share about their experiences the next day. These experiences could be shared with the class.
After hearing about the students' experiences and reading their essays, it is evident that the project has made an impact.
They usually come to realize that caring for a child at their young age would interfere with the things they want to be doing in their life right now.
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