Students prepare for future with help from child development project


Hannah Farmer

Junior Cole Martinez, sophomores Ashley Roemmich and Bryanna Farmer, and Aquinas junior Cody Hein care for their babies as part of the stimulation for the Child Development class. The students experienced what it is like to take on the responsibilities of being a parent.

Hannah Farmer

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a parent?  Or how your life would be affected with a child?  Or even thought about what kind of responsibilities goes into taking care of a child?  Well, here at David City High School, students who are currently taking the child development class got a taste of what it was like.  

Family and Consumer Science Teacher Tonya Zegers assigned five students each a baby to be responsible for. Over the span of three days, students experienced what it is like to deal with a fussy baby and how to tend to his or her needs.

“Students that take the project seriously should understand parental readiness,” Zegers said. “And what it truly takes to be a full-time caregiver.”

Going into this simulation, several students already knew they wanted kids when they grow up.  However, caring for this baby was an eye opener.

“Some students express their understanding that in their life at this time, a child is not an option and that they have more goals for their future,” Zegers noted.  “Many, but not all, come to realize that parenting at this age is difficult and would damper their future.”

One student, senior Brandy Barlean, for example, experienced the struggles of being a parent.

“I have learned that I’m not quite ready to be a mom,” Barlean stated, “Even though I loved having the baby, I hated waking up at 3 A.M. to take care of him.”

Students involved in this also learned that babies aren’t just cute and fun.  They take work too.  For example, during the simulation, the baby will cry when needed to be fed, burped, rocked, and/or changed.  In order to tend to the baby’s needs, the student had to take a sensor that they have on a bracelet and put it against the baby so the baby can recognize them as the “parent”.  Once recognized, the student can help the baby.  

“Some disadvantages [of having a baby] are waking up early,” Barlean said. “ And he cried at unfortunate times.”

Overall, this simulation might of have been tough for some, but it was definitely an eye opener that showed students the reality of parenting.