Teachers have the unique challenge of keeping up with societal trends that affect both students and families. One trend is the increasing number of young teens who are home alone, watching younger siblings or babysitting and who need to be taught the skills to stay safe in those situations.
Family and Consumer Science Teacher Lisa Trunk was looking for a child development program for students at Maple Grove Middle School in Osseo, Minnesota that supported the FCS curriculum and provided a completion certificate. The school’s Career & Technical Education Coordinator did an online search and found Safe Sitter®.
“Many students in our area take some sort of babysitting through various outlets,” said Lisa. “I thought Safe Sitter® might be a good fit. There were several components that were attractive.”
A new curriculum can’t do busy teachers any good if they don’t have the time to train in it. Lisa found Safe Sitter’s flexible online Instructor training convenient. “The online training was very easy to access and allowed me to tailor my schedule,” she said, adding that Safe Sitter® is a program that can be delivered with consistency at several sites and with several Instructors.
Of course, time is one concern when starting a new program. Money is another. Lisa said the startup cost to bring Safe Sitter® to her school district was reasonable. “I was able to partner with the afterschool program coordinator to use CPR manikins, also keeping initial costs down,” she said. “The only struggle I had was finding dolls for the diapering lesson, but I found and purchased large child-size dolls at a thrift store for the diapering portion of the curriculum.”
Just as important, Lisa said the participant cost is low enough that most students would be able to afford the registration and Student Handbook. Since she teaches 40-minute classes on a day 1/day 2 schedule, and sees over 250 students, it was also important that Safe Sitter® is a program that can be incorporated into existing lesson plans. Lisa said she was able to break the components of the Safe Sitter® curriculum into a full course that lasted two months.
“The curriculum is so easy to use – from the scripted lesson to the videos and booklet. Students liked looking through the booklet and the reading level was perfect,” she said. And even students who may have been reluctant to learn the curriculum at first quickly embraced the lessons after the first few hands-on activities.
“Safe Sitter® really gave the students confidence in their abilities. Even experienced sitters in my class found something new,” Lisa said. “I heard from many parents that their sons or daughters were asking to help with child care of family members or even talking about lessons at home.”
There’s a definite need in communities for home alone and babysitting classes and Safe Sitter® can meet that need by supplementing middle level child development programs. Just ask Lisa, who’s found tremendous success with the program in her middle school.
“My enrollment went up after teaching Safe Sitter®! It is one of the most affordable nationally recognized programs available,” she said.