Baby boot camp brought back for sophomores


CHS sophmore’s have a health class assignment of being a parent for 24 hours.

Ori Rosmarin

The New Jersey mandated Health and Fitness curriculum states that students must learn how to “analyze the emotional, social, and financial effects of being a teen or young adult parent.” Some schools choose to accomplish this by providing students with an egg or bag of rice and expecting the item to be in pristine condition the following day.
Communications High School, on the other hand, demonstrates these standards by providing sophomore students with crying, five-pound robot babies.

As Health and Fitness teacher Jennifer Baldaccini calls it, the “Ready-Or-Not Tot Parenting Project” aims to expose students to the physical and financial hardships of parenting. Throughout a twenty-four-hour period, sophomores are expected to carry a lifelike baby doll everywhere they go, log every time the doll cries, have each of their teachers sign a paper to ensure they’ve met the expectations of the assignment, and complete a reflection on the hardships of the project.

Sophomore Isabela Delgado of Eatontown said that she felt the project failed to introduce students to real-life parenting skills.

“Babies are a big commitment,” Delgado said. “A project involving a robot that you have to take care of for a day doesn’t at all reflect the stress of being a parent.”

Delgado highlighted the fact that the project did not include a discussion of the mental repercussions involved with childbirth and parenting.

“There should definitely be a part of the project that attacks the mental aspects, like post-partum depression and the general stress that comes with being a parent.”

Delgado isn’t the only student who felt that the project lacked realistic exposure to the stress of parenting. Sophomore Kaitlyn Gallagher of Neptune said, “If I were to improve the assignment, I would just ditch the baby altogether and just write about the financial aspects of parenting as a young person.”

Since adopting the position of Health teacher in the ‘21-’22 school year, Baldaccini has made some notable changes to the baby project. Along with cutting the project’s span from forty-eight to twenty-four hours, Baldaccini added a financial element, having students calculate just how much it would cost to raise a child for eighteen years. Students now must pick from a hat of random life situations, including personal finances, marital status and debt and decide how to spend their income. With this addition to the project, students budget mortgages, car loan payments, individual bills, childcare and savings, thus exposing sophomores to the tension of maintaining stable household finances in adulthood.

“While the project is short-lived, it offers students a brief moment of ‘Oh, I have something I need to take care of.’ Whether it’s finding a babysitter for it, if they have other responsibilities, it makes them think about something other than their own lives for once,” Baldaccini said.