Introducing Young Children to Nature

Listen to this while you're on a walk! Dorothy and Alex talk with Sharol Embry (naturalist with East Bay Regional Parks) and Cindy Margulis (Executive Director of Golden Gate Audubon Society) about how to explore nature with young children. Nature can be a destresser and offers ways to build compassion -- but only when you allow your children time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Sharol and Cindy share stories that show it's simple to get children to love nature.


Shakespeare wrote, "Parting is such sweet sorrow," but it's not always sweet when you have children who are loathe to let you go! Dorothy speaks with Alexandra Dutton and Judy Haus about ways to ease separations, whether you're going to be apart for just the school day, or gone for a longer trip. (And pardon the noise of the fan in the background -- it was 100 degrees when we recorded this!)

Books Judy mentioned:
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
Bye Bye Time by Elizabeth Verdick

How to Handle Grief with Preschoolers

Grief is something we don't want to have to talk about with young children, but saying the right thing can make a difference in how children process a sad event. Dorothy talks with Judy Haus and Rachel Turtledove about handling grief with young children, both as parents and as educators. They discuss why it's important to NOT say that someone has "passed away" or "We lost him," and how parents serve as the model for this challenging emotion.

For more resources, check out these websites:

Some books that were mentioned were:
Invisible String by Patrice Karst
Lifetimes: The beautiful way to explain death to Children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley
When Dinosaurs Die by Laurie Krasny Brown
If Nathan Were Here by Mary Bahr
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst

Keeping Kids Healthy with Dr. Nazia Sheriff

Dorothy is joined by Dr. Nazia Sheriff of Olive Leaf Pediatrics, who shares some hints about keeping healthy all year long, which can be challenging when you have little ones! Learn about what you can do to prevent illnesses in your children, and when you should bring your child to the doctor vs. just riding it out.

Learn more about Dr. Sheriff's practice, which includes doing house calls, at

Executive Function with Zero to Three

In August 2018, Old Firehouse School hosted the speakers from the national organization, Zero to Three. The speakers, Christy Stanton and Katrina Macasaet, discussed brain development in children 0-5 years old -- specifically executive functions, which are key skills, like problem solving, that all children need. Listen here to learn more about executive function, how it relates to your child's development, and how you can help it further develop.

Sibling Rivalry

When siblings fight, it can drive parents crazy! Dorothy Stewart talks with Judy Haus and Alexandra Dutton about how to help create positive relationships between siblings and specific language to use. They discuss why comparing your children is unhelpful (02:23), what to do when name calling occurs (05:30)and how to handle the classic, "That's not fair!" (10:56)

We were greatly inspired by Todd Sarner's Transformative Parenting video about sibling relationships, as well as Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish's "Siblings Without Rivalry."

Nutrition with Cary Berkley

Sometimes it can seem like an uphill battle to get children to eat! Nutritionist and former OFS parent Cary Berkley talks with Dorothy about how to help your children eat better and why it can be such a challenge. Get some really good, interesting tips about making mealtimes more pleasant for everyone.

For more information on Cary's work, or to consult with her, check out her website:

Mindfulness with Maylis and Katherine

Mindfulness has been a part of Old Firehouse School's work with children for many years. Alex talks with Katherine Peck (OFS Mill Valley)and Maylis Treuil (OFS Lafayette) about how and why they use mindfulness in their classroom, both for the children and for themselves. Being able to be present in the moment is a skill that you can develop at any age. They share some activities they use with children and also some other resources.

Some of the resources they mentioned are here: 
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)
I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde
What Does It Mean to Be Present? by Rana DiOrio and Eliza Wheeler
Go Noodle (YouTube channel with some yoga and self-regulation exercises)

The Importance of Relationships

OFS Mill Valley Director Amy Baker interviews Dorothy, who discusses the importance of attachment. People have an innate need to feel love and be connected to others, and these attachments are formed in the earliest years in our lives. Dorothy talks about how our parenting is affected by how we were parented, as well as how advancements in neuroscience support attachment relationships.