Not Just for the Classroom: How RealCare Baby is Helping Inmates Hone Nurturing Skills

By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Marketing Automation Specialist

RealCare Baby isn’t just for the classroom. After all, the child care skills this infant simulator helps teach can be used by anyone who might eventually need to care for an infant, whether that person is a high school student, a parent-to-be, a nursing student or in this case, a prison inmate.

As first reported on March 11, twelve inmates from the Utah State Prison are currently completing a prison parenting course in which they’re paired with other inmates to care for RealCare Baby infant simulators. By responding to the simulator’s cries for feeding, diapering, rocking and burping, as well as supporting its head, changing its clothes and more, these inmates are learning valuable nurturing skills they can use in other aspects of their life, in and out of prison.

As seen in the above video clip from ABC 4 Utah/KTVX, Utah State Prison inmates must respond to all of RealCare Baby’s needs: feeding, burping, rocking and changing. Caring for Baby is part of a parenting class at the prison that helps teach inmates nurturing skills.

RealCare Baby is all about tapping into the power of experiential learning. Twenty years ago, the original Baby Think It Over® program was designed to help participants understand what it was like to be the teen parent or caregiver of an infant. Two decades later, Realityworks’ RealCare Baby Program continues to teach participants the many ways that having an infant would impact their life on physical, emotional, social and financial levels, enabling them to experience a taste of parenthood.

In the Utah State Prison program, that experience is helping teach important parenting and life skills that be used once inmates are released, like nurturing and attachment, relationships, communication, the role of the father, literacy development, parenting styles and much more.

The many ways that the RealCare Program can be applied is limited only by our imagination. Baby has successfully touched the lives of participants many types of programs, including:

  • Babysitting classes
  • FACS classes
  • Prisons
  • After-school programs
  • Home visits by social workers
  • Prenatal education classes

What other programs or courses do you think would benefit from experiential learning products like RealCare Baby? Share your feedback in the comments!