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    West Hatch High School child development course students take babies home for weekend

    West Hatch High School Year 10 students Charlotte Allen and Holly King were the first Child Development students to take home RealCare Virtual Babies for a weekend of sleep deprivation and hard work.

    The 'babies' are based on the schedules of 15 real babies and must be fed, rocked, burped and changed.

    A sophisticated piece of technology, the RealCare Babies are incredibly life-like and respond to the care giver by cooing after good care (and burping too) and recording all the care that has been given on the Care Report as well as rough handling, shaken baby, unsupported head and neglect.

    Both girls did exceptionally well and truly appreciated the difficulties and demands of caring for a baby.

    Holly said: "It was stressful! I took the baby out shopping and received some funny looks."

    Charlotte said: "It was harder than I had thought. Getting up in the night was the most difficult part. I enjoyed taking the baby out and explaining how it related to our course."

    Anjala Sharma, Head of the CACHE Department, said: "We use these babies within an educational framework to provide a memorable and practical hands-on opportunity for young people to experience the realities of parenthood.

    "Many young girls see the pretty side of parenthood - dressing up babies and pushing them around in a lovely pram and think this is what parenting is all about but the hard side of parenting - the night feeds, fussy and unhappy babies, not enough sleep and feeling very tired and frustrated - is something all parents go through and needs to be experienced too."