The reflections the students statewide have written while in the program seem to indicate a change in behavior and are deeply moving. One young man, serving a life sentence, said the weekend Baby Elmo classes are the only chance he gets to see his young daughter.
The person behind all of the information gathered during the parent-child sessions is Rachel Barr, a developmental psychologist and researcher at Georgetown. Her work focuses on how babies view television, and by incorporating videos of Baby Elmo into the class time with parents, it presented a face that the teens and their kids recognized.
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Essentially, Baby Elmo is a parenting class, but the curriculum doesn’t cover basics such as changing diapers. Instead, it teaches participants how to play and interact with their babies and to establish a bond. The program takes its name from the videos shown at each of the parenting sessions.
It’s all part of the 10-week Baby Elmo program, which has been working quietly behind the scenes to keep teen parents who are in jail connected with their young children.