The power of flour


Junior Brandon Bowling shows of his flour baby that he is taking care of as a part of a psychology class project. Photographer Ella Ridge

Ella Ridge, Reporter

From Jan. 13-17, students in psychology classes were carrying around sacks of flour from class to class, acting as though they were actual babies. Are these sacks of flour really teaching psychology students anything about real life parenting?

Each year, students participate in the Flour Baby Project for three days. Historically, these flour babies were supposed to discourage students from early teen pregnancies, but this is no longer the main goal. The purpose is to demonstrate a level of responsibility and simulate managing a family of one.

The Flour Baby project has become very popular and one that the students look forward to. Each student is asked to buy a 5 pound bag of baking flour then name and decorate it. The babies are required to be constantly supervised. Students must log notes about their daily reflections in order to simulate the real life experience. These babies may only represent a fraction of the full gamut of parental responsibilities, but open students eyes to a sense of responsibility that is necessary for parenthood.

According to junior Robert Mayor, Div 117, “I’ve learned that having a kid is a lot of work and looking after someone 24/7 is a huge task. This project made me appreciate all that parents do everyday.”

The project doesn’t just affect psychology student’s, but the entire student body. Having support and help is a big part of parenthood, and student’s who didn’t get the opportunity to have their own flour baby got the chance to babysit. The babysitting element made the project more enjoyable and interactive for all, thus making it more effective.

“I’ve come to like the project much more because of how much the student’s like it. I used to not want to do it, but it’s hard to not want to do something that students are excited for,” said psychology teacher, Daniel Vanover.

One of the psychology lessons taught during this project was the baby to mother connection that occurs, as well as a look into how babies think and feel. The summative assessment requires a reflective journal and digital scrapbook with images showing captions capturing the baby’s behaviors, thoughts and feelings.

Junior, Gabi Davila, Div 120, said, “This project has helped my understanding of the psychology around parenthood and babies, because I had to be attentive to my baby and had to care for it as if it was real.”

Although it is required, it’s safe to say that students are fond of the hardships that come with parenting. This window serves as a lesson for students to be prepared if or when the time arrives when they have a baby that’s not made of flour.