Some life lessons are learned at an early age

Editor's View
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Give cooks a 5-pound bag of flour and a stack of recipes and they can turn the flour into a table-full of cakes, cookies, breads, desserts and meals. Eighth-grade students at Loomis Grammar School recently turned the sack of flour into “flour babies” as part of the Family Life supplemental elective. Their teacher, Rebecca Kattenhorn, said the elective is designed to expose students to the responsibilies of being a parent. “During that time they are learning the curriculum as far as the development from fertilized egg, to embryo, to fetus, to the birth process,” said Kattenhorn. The math and science teacher said all the students in her class participated in the optional class. It was up to the students to create the babies on their own, purchasing the sack of flour and adding a head and limbs, which sometimes came from old baby dolls. Kattenhorn provided bags of flour and limbs for students who needed them. As part of the curriculum, female students wore backpacks on their bellies to simulate being pregnant. The boys wore their backpacks on their backs to experience the added responsibility of carrying the weight. Then, students carried their flour babies wherever they went for nine days, including weekends. The project includes creation of a baby book, which Kattenhorn said contains a research project into a childhood disease students were assigned. Students will also write an essay about their experiences while caring for the baby. A baby beauty contest is one of the fun parts of the project. “I think the best thing that the students get out of it is that they’re able to step out of their world that’s all about ‘me,’ and they’re forced to care for someone else and put their little baby first,” Kattenhorn said. Sami Owens, 14, soon discovered being responsible for the flour baby was tedious. “You have to change your schedule, remember when you’re leaving the house that it’s something you have to take with you,” Sami said. “I’m not used to having to take care of it, because the teachers expect to treat it like it’s real. “My parents are really into it; they want me to have it with me all the time. I don’t know what to do with it, because it’s not like a real baby.” And with two days left before she turned in the flour baby, Sami had already learned from the project the lesson it was intended to teach. “I learned that it’s really hard to have a baby. I’m definitely not ready for something like that. It changes your life,” she said. “I’m pretty sure that was the purpose of the project, to show you that you’re not ready yet.” That’s a valuable lesson, and it all started with a $2.50 bag of flour.