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Toys lie about the classroom floor. A student tests the temperature of the bath water; another changes the baby's nappy. The rest of this Wellington Girls College 6th form class watch intently, pens poised over their workbooks.

Plunket facilitator Natalie Sandifer and the baby's mother proffer guidance and instruction.

As well as giving students hands-on experience of the skills and responsibilities of parenthood, this day-long course also contributes 2 credits to early childhood Unit Standard 10021. 'Tots And Toddlers' so called, covers everything from the benefits of breast milk to bathroom safety and it links in to the more theoretical curriculum of child development.

And it's not just teen-age girls who get hands-on with baby: a growing number of boys' secondary schools are taking advantage of 'Tots And Toddlers'.

Spectrum's Jack Perkins spends a day in the classroom-come-nursery to mark the centenary of the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society.