It seems that every time I take a look at education, more and more nontraditional courses are being taught to students. I think that it all began with home economics and general building courses. It then moved to more elaborate types of vocational course studies. Next, we began teaching students about sex education. From there, we traveled into learning about the negative effects of drugs. Before long, a course about good character was added. The new course of study that I have discovered is one that I never thought would be needed in our middle school classrooms.
Pontiac, Michigan has now found a need to begin teaching a class known as Crib Notes. Crib Notes is a six weeklong course that is now being taught at Lincoln Middle School. The course was taught to help reduce the rate of infant deaths in Pontiac, which has a fairly high rate.
The course was created and taught by nurses. The course does not teach students about safe sex or sex education. It teaches students about how to care for themselves and for others. The course offers advice on healthy eating, rest, and exercise. It discusses smoking, obesity, and harmful sleeping patterns.
In the course, students learn things such as how it can be dangerous to co-sleep with a baby and how bumper pads can cause infants to choke.
The teachers and school administrators selected the students that could take the course. They chose students that help take care of young siblings or family members. They also chose students that already have a child of their own. Other students were chosen because they would likely go out and spread the information they learned to others.
I think that a course such as this could possibly be a method of prevention. However when teaching these types of courses, we must be very careful not to send out the wrong message. Some of the comments that I read from students that had taken the course indicated that they were very confident in knowing the proper way to care for a baby. While it is important for students to know safe and healthy ways to care for infants, we do not want them to think that it is easy. Nor do we want the students to feel that they are now prepared to care for a child.