While wandering the hallways, if you pay attention you’ll notice that some students are carrying life-sized baby dolls. These dolls aren’t just toys, they’re part of a sociology project with the goal of teaching students how to manage raising a child.
Sociology is defined as the study of social behavior and society as a whole. The school’s sociology class is currently in the specific unit of marriage and family. In this unit students simulate life as an average American family. The students get “married” to classmates and soon after the baby project starts.
The project starts three days after the students get married. Pairs of students are assigned a baby doll that they are responsible for. Students need to keep track of the doll at all times, so students are expected to constantly take photos of them caring for the dolls as proof that they are indeed looking after them. “You have to make sure to have pictures taken of doing fun activities with the baby and have the baby with you at all times,” junior Saira Faisal said.
The baby stays attached to the student no matter what. If a student needs to go to work they’ll have to arrange for their spouse to take care of the doll. The baby is to be treated as a real child. Sociology teacher Amy Buckingham said “You can’t just leave a kid in a car.”
Students in the baby project will compliment or report each other for doing good or bad jobs. This ensures that students can’t just take a bunch of photos and abandon the baby. Once students make a commitment to their doll, they are stuck with it. The point of the project is to simulate a real American family. The overarching purpose of the marriage and family unit and the baby project is to teach students how to successfully manage a family in a real life scenario. It’s easy to say you’d be a good parent, but it’s hard to actually be a good parent. Buckingham said that the point of the baby project is to “learn not only theoretical goals of marriage and family, but the practical applications as well.”
Students have positive impressions of the project. Students agree that it is important to learn how to raise kids and while it can be labor intensive it can also be rewarding. “Having a project like this, takes you into the reality and responsibilities of being an adult… [but] the project is actually pretty fun,” Faisal said.
While only a few students will go into careers that require extensive educational knowledge most students are going to end up with a family to take care of. “Instead of learning pre calc that only engineers are going to need, we should be educating people on how to raise someone in a way that is going to leave a positive impact on the planet.” freshman Jonathan Meyer said.