Fort Worth Country Day’s Rice Babies project celebrated its 30th year on August 26 when the 75-member Class of 2033 created their own babies. First-Grade Teacher Sheri Fuller and her team, Ann Buis, Diana Isbell, and Donna Rubin, brought the project to FWCD in 1992. This was Fuller’s second year teaching at the School.
Students in the Class of 2004 were the very first Falcons to enjoy the project that involves students filling tea-dyed socks with rice equal to their birth weight; adding wiggly eyes, a pacifier, and a belly button; and swaddling their newborn in a baby blanket. Little did they know they would become a part of a storied FWCD tradition that many consider a rite of passage for all FWCD first-graders.
In those beginning years, FWCD parents who were doctors would supply the first-grade team with scrubs. As Rice Babies evolved and parents began helping, they donned scrubs as well, even going so far one year to have special FWCD scrubs created.
This year, students in Fuller, Anne Noles, Sarah Aktar Smith ’91, and Callie Spradley’s first-grade classes embraced the creation of their babies with great care. Each child created a birth certificate with their personal birth information. The babies stayed in the “nursery” on campus overnight and then went home with the students on Friday. “In past years, we’ve kept our Rice Babies in school for two weeks and engaged in activities that included reading fairytales, singing lullabies, and completing part projects,” Fuller noted. “These lessons taught first-graders about caring for others, but also introduced math concepts of weight, measurement, time and dates, as well as birth order in a family.”
The Rice Babies project came to FWCD by way of teachers in New Orleans who presented about their success with the event at an Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) conference, Fuller shared. She connected with the project and decided to bring it to Fort Worth.
“I love the joy that Rice Babies bring to our FWCD families,” Fuller noted. “It was so fun to see our First-Grade Associate Courtney Corbeille Krauss ’06 make a Rice Baby this year and share her first-grade Rice Baby photo with her dad when she made a rice baby years ago.”
The Rice Babies tradition is so beloved that many seniors are reported having their babies 11 years later. The Class of 2033 included children of more than 25 FWCD alumni.
“I never thought Rice Babies would be the long-lasting tradition it has become,” Fuller continued. “I just love that we continue to open up the school year with our students in this way.”
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a JK-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.