No Baby Left Behind

Article excerpt

Gettys Middle School

EASLEY * SC

No Baby Left Behind was created to have an impact on the school readiness of children in our community today and in the future. Each year, there are increasing numbers of students who have learning difficulties. Many of these problems are preventable. Accidents, poor nutrition (of the mother and/or child), drug use, alcohol use, and lack of stimulation and learning activities in the home are some of the factors that threaten optimal learning; this program is designed to address these factors.

Students need this knowledge before they become parents, so middle school is an ideal time to teach this program. Also, South Carolina's statistics on child well-being are among the worst in the nation. South Carolina ranks 48th in low birth weight babies, 47th in infant mortality, and 39th in number of births to teens. In SC, 26% of mothers do not get adequate prenatal care and 14% of 1st graders are not ready for 1st grade.

Students in No Baby Left Behind learn about child development including the consequences for infants and children of poor nutrition, and alcohol, drug, and tobacco use. They also learn how to properly and safely care for babies and small children and to deal with emergencies. In addition, students learn how to foster children's self-esteem and prepare them for success in school and in life. Other topics are the prevention of neglect and child abuse. Classroom learning is linked to helping children in the community through service projects.

Learning is divided by grade level. Sixth grade students role-play refusal skills, complete the Red Cross emergency preparedness course Together We Prepare, complete the Red Cross Babysitting course, make refrigerator cookies for donation to children, and sew activity mats to exercise the hand muscles of handicapped children.

Seventh graders explore the role of self-esteem in success in all areas of life, they use infant simulators to practice proper childcare, complete the Red Cross Infant/Child CPR course, study proper child discipline, and make three recipes that are fun activities for children. They also make and give painted cookies, stuffed toys, quilts, drawstring backpacks, diaper bags, diapers, baby wipes, and wheelchair backpacks to community organizations that serve children. …