” Hello, I’m a Hispanic Baby…here is what people say about us Babies. “
Saint Joan of Arc, Herts (Free loan Baby for Open Evening)
We found the delivery and pick service was excellent.
All instructions were excellent too.
The baby was charged which was helpful.
The baby attracted people to the desk ~ even though she was turned off!
Thank you for a very professional service.
Amelia Knibbs – Highdown School (free Babies from Life Choice for PSHCE Day)
We hired four babies for our PSHCE day to a cohort of Year 11 boys and girls. As soon as the babies came out of the box all the pupils showed a lot of excitement and came rushing over saying ‘please can I hold one’, ‘aww they are so cute’, ‘can I change its nappy’. It was an eye opener for many pupils, many of whom had not had any direct contact with babies before. The session gave them a great insight into the trials of parenthood, many things of which they had not considered before looking after the virtual babies.
We also had an alcohol and drug baby which visually showed the pupils what could happen to the baby if the mother exposed herself to these substances. It made the pupils think very carefully about the impact drugs and alcohol has on the unborn baby, and led to discussions about pre-natal care.
Thank you very much for the excellent service, especially at such short notice, and I will definitely use your company again, as well as recommend to many other schools.
James Allbright – Schools Partnership, Alternative Centre for Education
We run a Baby Think It Over programme with 48 students per year from a group of secondary schools in Nottinghamshire. During the courses, the girls have the opportunity to receive training on and then spend 3 days and 2 nights with a Real Care baby simulator from Life Choice Ltd.
From time to time, our simulators require a little repair and health check by the team at Life Choice and on the occasions when this has been needed I have found this service to be excellent. The words I would use would be helpful, professional, knowledgeable, good value for money, informative, polite and understanding.
Thank you Life Choice for your on-going support.
Sarah Blackmore – Arthur Mellows Village College
My students have loved this exercise and many say that the possibility of having a baby was a deciding factor in choosing Health and Social care as an option in year 10. They come back the next day exhausted and with a real understanding of the demands of a tiny baby
Kate Bulman – Oakhill Secure Unit
The electronic babies are used as part of an award winning Fatherhood Programme at Oakhill STC (Nurse leading the programme won Brook/FPA Sexual Health Professional of the Year Award). The course is for teenage (13 t0 17) fathers/expectant fathers or teenagers at risk of becoming fathers who are in custody. The boys really like and benefit from this part of the course – taking care of an electronic baby overnight.
For boys who have a baby or one on the way it gives them a sense of the reality of what caring for a child involves, and for boys who are not parents or expecting it usually puts them off having a baby in the near future as they learn just how much work caring for a baby involves. They like the fact that they are scored for this activity and work hard to get a high score. It is touching to see the gentle way that the boys handle the babies.
Alison Prince – The Bourne Academy
Thank you for the care reports. It was an amazing experience for all of the girls and I know they thoroughly enjoyed it. I also feel that it was extremely valuable in terms of learning and experience. I will certainly be interested in doing the programme again with my other groups, budgets allowing.
It has been a pleasure to deal with your company and all aspects have gone very smoothly. I would be more than happy to recommend you to other potential clients.
Cab Webster – Head of Child Care, Deanery High CE School and Sixth Form
We hired the babies for the first time last year in order to offer our vocational students the opportunity to engage in in this fantastic learning experience as a full cohort. This resulted in excitement and anticipation for the staff and students. We were hoping our young people would recognise the realities of parenthood even if it was for a short time and as a result of this would encourage them to make informed choices about their lives.
We were very impressed with the personal service we received and the students were delighted to receive their care reports so quickly. We have now hired the babies a second time and when our budget allows we will certainly like to re-hire the babies for other cohorts of students in the future.
Gail Morris – Gwernyfed High School
Thank you so much for your patience and time explaining to me the setting up of the Baby. This weekend I did a test run with the Baby and all seems to be working. Thank you also for sending me the information pack, it looks fantastic.
Joanne Triffitt – Mothers’ Union, Diocese of Salisbury
We have been using the babies for 3 years with much success as they have incorporated a local community involvement with local schools and a safe environment and open discussion. We have had a very positive response from the students. They are always positive and have a lot to talk about. The babies have also raised self-awareness and enhanced self-responsibility, building confidence and competence. For the students it is a unique opportunity.
I have achieved great encouragement and great belief that this is the right project to be running and the organisation has achieved the ability to connect with a people group that we thought we couldn’t.
I would definitely recommend the RealCare Babies.
Ben Turner – journalist Liverpool Echo
To show willing I agreed to take ‘Baby 72’ home for an eventful 24 hours. I christened her Tina Turner as I aimed to be ‘simply the best’ virtual father on Merseyside.
In the past 12 months I have achieved everything from coming through a Fonz master class with Henry Winkler to getting a smile out of a school receptionist. But the 24 hours caring for Tina was without doubt my most challenging moment.
My unsympathetic fiancée, as supportive as a chocolate car jack, not for the first time confined me to the settee as she washed her hands of babysitting duties. From the moment Tina was switched on however, my indifference disappeared and I became a dedicated dad. Over the next 24 hours I gently rocked an uncannily realistic Tina five times – sometimes continuously for 40 minutes – to successfully stop the crying. Nine nappy changes, seven burps and 13 feeds were also crammed in, meaning I had around three hours sleep and looked as rough as a sandpaper museum. Remarkably Tina only cried for eight minutes in 24 hours and I emerged with a 97% score – penalised only for taking too long to change a nappy and placing Tina in the wrong position on three occasions.
Managing director of Life Choice Ltd which supplies the babies, Jane Gordon explains:
“Traditionally journalists in the past have not done so well so we expected the usual neglect or abuse shutdown accompanied with the excuses of working to a deadline, too busy, too tired. So we are delighted to see that Ben did very well.”
Liz Johnston – William Edwards High School
I was introduced to the concept of using virtual Babies as part of the GCSE Child Development course many years ago. At first I carried out sponsored events to raise money to pay for the rental costs, but soon discovered that most students were happy to pay for the experience themselves and the school doesn’t have to pay for anything. The staff at Life Choice are friendly and helpful and do their best to meet any requests I make. The Babies arrive in cases, all programmed and ready to start at 5pm that evening, so the teacher does not have to worry about the technological side of things – it is all done already! After the week-end the Babies are sent back and a few days later we receive the print-outs, informing the students on how well they met the Babies’ needs. EASY!!
This year we are extending the experience to a wider group of students by offering it as part of Personal Development (PSHE) and all students in Year 10 studying Sex & Relationships will be offered the chance to be a parent for a week-end. This can also contribute towards the Trident Gold Award as the student’s Personal Challenge.
Sophie- Anne – a student of William Edwards High School
This year our Year 10 Health & Social Care class, along with other members of year 10, had the opportunity to experience what it was like to care for a ‘baby’ 24/7. We were required to care for a virtual Baby for a week-end, starting on Thursday 8th July at 5pm! The aim was to widen our knowledge and skills about parenting. Fortunately there were no smelly nappies to change but the Baby cried at regular intervals and we had to work out what he/she needed – a feed, a nappy change, a burp or just a rock. This carried on through the night too – just like a real baby!
The experience gave us all an insight into what it would be like to be responsible for a real baby – it affects your social life, it’s tiring, it’s emotionally draining and although most of us hope to have children in the future, we are an in agreement that it won’t be for a very long time to come!
Babies have arrived at Shrewsbury College and despite years of trying to fundraise and students sending off for grants with no positive responses, the Governors of the College decided to fund the Life Choice Hire project.
We use the babies on the CACHE courses level 1 to 3. At first the students have the babies during the day around the college which gives both students and staff time to monitor each other, and then the students take them home.
We find that the students are very enthusiastic and can’t wait to have them. Students arrive with pushchairs and carriers ready to take their babies home. Photographs are taken, birth certificates handed out and the girl’s boyfriends seem very happy to be part of the process with many taking turns with the care needs. Students are shocked by some people’s attitudes as many people they meet first of all think that the babies are ‘real’. Students have had difficulty getting on public transport, others have been called names by groups of youngsters, and some have been verbally abused by older people. This has given them an insight in to being a young parent.
The students on the health courses have been very interested in the workshops on the shaken baby, and the drug and alcohol affected babies.
We have made contact with local schools and in the next academic year hope to work in partnership during PHSE lessons.
Enrichment/tutorial sessions within the college may take an interesting turn as we hope to involve the Childcare students in taking the babies into male orientated courses for a Parenting programme.
We have taken the babies to meet the Governors and The Bump Pregnancy Simulator became a hit especially with the Principal. These babies have become part of the family here at Shrewsbury College and well worth the wait.
Student comments: Level 1 – “It has helped me to decide when I would like to start thinking of having a baby; I like my sleep!”
Level 2 – “I feel that I have bonded with the baby, but it kept me awake for two hours and it has helped me realise what —- (another student in the class) goes through with her baby.”
Level 3 – “Using the baby over the last couple of days has made me rethink the area of work that I would like to progress in to”
“A great enhancement to the course; a shame that we did not have them in our first year”
Lisa Sands – parent
My daughter Jasmine who is 15 brought home “Baby Gabe” (as we named him!) Baby 10 from school for 4 nights, I think she adapted to the concept of having a baby fairly well to start with. She was very excited to show him off to friends and family. The first night was a fairly quiet one for her with feeds at 11.20 pm then a nappy change at 12.00, and then another cry at 12.30am! The baby then slept until 3.30am and he woke Jasmine with a start! The next few days were more difficult for her I think as lack of sleep took its toll on her. Jasmine being a typical teenager really missed her 12pm sleep in on Saturday morning after baby woke her at 6.30am and wouldn’t settle for 3 hours, then when I informed her she had to get up and do her usual Saturday morning chores she wasn’t happy! I think Jasmine has learnt a lot from this experience and has learnt that having a baby is not as easy as people/young girls think. The lack of sleep, and having your whole daily routine turned around really cemented the idea that she doesn’t want children until her late 20’s for Jasmine.
From my part of the experience I have learnt that it is very scary watching your 15 year old holding and caring for a “baby” even if it was only for a few days. Watching Jasmine with the baby was one of the strangest feelings I have ever felt. You automatically go into “mother” mode and I instantly became my mother! “Jasmine support his head, Jasmine does he need a feed etc”! It made me realise that I am not ready to become a grandmother.
I think this experience is invaluable and I think it should be compulsory in schools for both boys and girls. I think it would give them more than an insight as to what life is like with a “real baby” and how much it turns your life upside down! I would definitely recommend a virtual baby to anyone who was thinking of having a baby no matter how old they were!!!