Rosses CS host innovative teen pregnancy project
A special study of the affects of teenage pregnancy on both boys and girls is the focus of a unique new project by the pupils of Rosses Community School in Dungloe.
They are currently two groups taking part in the project - one specialising in teenage pregnancy in girls and one in teenage fathers.
It is being led by art teacher Eilse O' Hart through her "Young Social Innovators class".
Eilse explains the Young Social Innovators (YSI) mission is to raise awareness among young people all by recognising a social issue that they feel strongly about and then come up with an innovative action to change it for the good.
"There are 26 students in the class and we decided to split the class into two groups and produce two projects. They both felt that teenage pregnancy is a huge problem in our area and wanted to do something about it. We have a ‘girls' group that are looking at the project from the girls point of view and a ‘boys' group who are looking at it from their point of view," she says
Elaine Mc Callig and Cathy Melly from the ‘boys' group say they are aiming to challenging the negative stereotype concerning teenage fathers.
There project is called "I have rights. LOL joke I'm a teen dad".
They explain: "We have already organised two very successful surveys, one for females and one for males, that many pupils took part in. We have received some very interesting results."
They say it showed there was a highly negative stereotype concerning teenage fathers but the survey shows that most boys would not run away from these responsibilities and that they would want a part in their child's life in the event of a pregnancy.
The girls project, headed by Orlaith Mc Dowell and Danielle Gallagher, is titled "Ready or not, here I come" and places emphasis on the reality of a teenager facing a pregnancy.
They explain: "As part of our project and to highlight the issue we are running a nine week programme within the school. Each of the nine weeks represents a month in pregnancy. Each week we research the progress of the pregnancy over that month and display all the information in the electronic notice board in our main assembly area for all the students to see. We think that young people are sexually active too young and don't think about what happens if you do become pregnant. They never think that far ahead so the information we give is always about the stuff that you don't hear about. The morning sickness, discharges, the growth of the baby, the changes in the woman's body, the emotional side effects and the financial cost."
With the emphasis on the reality of pregnancy and child birth the group have come up with a novel way of putting the their theory into practice.
"At the end of the nine week programme all the students will have made ‘Flour sack babies', These will be made from bags of flour and made to resemble the weight of a newborn baby. We will all have to carry them around for a week to see just how hard it is to look after something 24/7 - even if it is only a bag of flour," the girls explain.
To help with the cost of running their innovative project the groups have been involved in fund-raising local and have hosted a no-uniform day and are also selling silicon wristband where the proceeds will go to a cancer research charity.
They have hired special baby "simulators" that can record how the teen ‘parents' are coping with childcare.
Students from Rosses Community School in Dungloe pictured with their ‘Baby Simulators' as part of their study into the effects of teenage pregnancy in boy and girls.