Family · Just my Thoughts

The Flour Baby Project

Each semester the high school student(s) in my house come home with tales of “The Flour Baby Project.” In New York State, high school students must take a half credit of health to graduate.  This course is offered every semester at our high school and includes such topics as STDs, alcoholism, CPR – each student is certified by the end of the course, and many more.

“The Flour Baby Project” is an attempt to teach parental responsibility.  I have heard tales of total lack of regard for the project and also tales of students that take the project very seriously.

Yesterday was the first day of this school year’s first round of “The Flour Baby Project.”  My 15 year old son was full of chatter on this topic this morning.  Boy X had his flour baby dressed in a sailor suit that had been his as a baby.  Girl Y had made Styrofoam arms for her flour baby.  Boy Z had made two faces on his flour baby, one awake and one asleep.  The stories went on and took me back to when four of my five older children had been involved in the flour baby project.

Previously, flour baby tales included tales of pens ripping through the bags of flour and entire rolls of duct tape being used to protect the “baby.”  These were not, at least yet, the tales from my youngest’s friends.  In my mind, these young adults are taking the assignment slightly more seriously.  They are dressing their “babies.”  They are making faces for their “babies.”

Now, the end question on effectiveness will come with the report that is due at the end of the project.  Did the “babies” actually get treated like a child?  Were they ever left unsupervised?

Do you recall parenting exercises in school?  Did your children take part in any such learning experiences?

On a slightly good note, all flour is donated to a food pantry at the end of the project providing the bag is undamaged.

11 thoughts on “The Flour Baby Project

  1. I never did take part in a class like that. I don’t think it really teaches them anything. I can see the point, but, well, don’t you think teaching them personal responsibility is a better tool? Like, if you have sex there are consequences. Sure, you can use a condom but it may not work and then the girl could get pregnant and…the list goes on and on. In a culture saturated with sex (and shows like, the life of a real teen or whatever the heck it is called) I think the rising rates of pregnancy and STDs is absolutely understandable. Seems kinda like a no brainer, y’know?

    Sheesh. I am on one today. I am sure the program is good, I think I have a lot on my mind today. Sorry for the rant!

  2. No problems on my end, Ambrosia. While I understand what the concept of the flour baby project is, I just don’t think kids take it seriously enough. There has to be a better way.

  3. We didn’t have flour babies in school, and I think now that I am middle aged that we should pretty much keep kids locked up in convents until they are 21 🙂

  4. Is this like “egg babies” where you have to care for an egg for a week? We did that and it just became another distraction in the classroom. I agree with Ambrosia that there must be a better way but it sounds like fun!

    1. Becca – My guess is this is just like “egg babies.” The project lasts ten days. And yes, it is a distraction.

  5. There is a fatal flaw in the Flour Baby Project: bags of flour neither scream like banshees nor excrete volcanic poop.

    It sounds like a fun project. I don’t know if they learn anything, but it sounds amusing! Particularly if the kids personalize their babies like you describe.

    1. Well, one year – I think the year the twins were in this class so over four years ago – there were a lot of exploding bags of flour. Students would spend the day trying to tamper with others’ babies.

  6. this is an interesting concept.

    in vancouver canada, they had a baby project going at the primary school. it was called something like ‘sympathy’ baby.

    each week the babies (each baby dedicated to particular classes) would come into the classroom and the children would discuss the baby: its growth, how to treat a person, etc etc.

    seeing a baby grow up week by week, made the baby ‘their baby’ for whom they felt responsible, love and care.

    it was used as a way to learn compassion and caring for weaker ones (instead of bullying) etc etc.

    this real baby project required a commitment of a real mom with her baby for a full year (or two), as well as trained ‘sympathy program’ volunteers.

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