June 13, 2019
Help! What Teaching Tools Do I Need As a New Childbirth Educator?
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 2 Comments
Visit any workshop for new childbirth educators, or pop into a childbirth educator social media group anywhere on the internet, and you will find the most oft-asked question from those just starting out is “What are the most important items to have for teaching as a new childbirth educator?” Just like new parents are bombarded with “must have” messages for all the things they “need to purchase” for their soon to arrive baby, new educators worry about all the tools they “need to acquire” when they start to teach.
The reality is that starting out as a childbirth educator does not require a lot of equipment or teaching tools. What is most important is your creativity and ability to deliver evidence-based information in an engaging and memorable way. These skills come from within and the visual aids and teaching tools are the icing on the cake.
For those childbirth educators who are hired by an organization or hospital, there is often a deep supply closet filled with things you can use. But other folks are teaching independently and are entirely responsible for providing their own equipment. Don’t panic! Here are the five things that you really need to start out. The rest of the tools can come later.
A model pelvis
These can be found on Amazon, and many other places, and while they can be spendy, they don’t have to be. You can choose between one with elastic cordage through the joints or screws. You can even get one made of fabric that is easy to transport and pack.
Once you have acquired your pelvis, you can find a “doll” that will fit through! Rotating, descending and fitting through is key. There are fetal dolls available but really any soft doll with a head that fits will work, as long as you take off the clothes. You can draw suture lines and fontanels with a sharpie to demonstrate the bony plates of the skull.
A knitted uterus
Tons of easy knitting patterns for these are available on the internet, and if you don’t knit, finding someone willing to help you should not be hard. You can use any yarn you have available, it just makes for a colorful teaching tool.
A laminator that can fit a regular sheet of paper is a must have when starting out. Laminators are very affordable on Amazon, usually under $20 dollars, and I buy the generic (cheaper) lamination sheets to use. Laminating your card activities makes them last longer through multiple uses and presents a more professional teaching aide.
Some nametags, markers, brightly colored paper, and newsprint are crucial for teaching and will be items that you will want right from the start. I like to watch my local “Buy Nothing” group for these things and grab them when they are available.
Beyond this, you can add to your supplies when you need to and can afford to do so. As you introduce new teaching activities, you can build up your teaching supply stash. But to start out, these really are the basics and there is no need to go “hog wild” with big bucks and major purchases if you are a new educator. Don’t forget, reach out to educators who may be retiring in your community or online, to see if they are ready to sell some of their teaching stashes at a great price!
Calling experienced educators, what if anything would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments section below and include your favorite links if appropriate.
TagsChildbirth education Teaching Tools Uterus Pelvis childbirth educator Fetus Teaching Aids Sharon Muza