The new school year is under way, and if you're having a hard time saying goodbye at drop off at preschool or daycare, this podcast is for you! Dorothy is joined by Judy Haus and Alexandra Dutton, and they share some strategies to help ease the pain of saying goodbye. The most important rule: Never sneak out!
Fireside Chats on the Young Mind Podcast
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.
Dorothy speaks with Alexandra Dutton and Dr. Judith Van Hoorn, author and professor, about the art of grandparenting. As a grandparent herself, Judith is writing a book about the role of play and the art of being present and available to support both her children and grandchildren. They share insights on how powerful grandparent figures can be in the lives of children.
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
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.
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
Do you feel guilty about how much your child uses technology? Dorothy talks with Alex Dutton and Danielle Roach about the ways preschoolers and parents can use technology -- and you may be surprised at what they say! The truth is, the more educators and parents know, the more they can make informed decisions about appropriate use of the technology in our world.
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 www.oliveleafpeds.com
While we may not all have great memories of math, we can shape our children's minds about math through simple and easy strategies and games. Dorothy talks with Alexandra Dutton and Michele Bailey, an OFS Lafayette teacher about how to create an environment where children will love math. They discuss the importance of Sets, Number Sense, and Counting.
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.
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."
Holidays are a time of joy -- and stress -- for us all! Alexandra Dutton and Judy Haus, Old Firehouse School directors, share some strategies to help all of us enjoy the holidays more by simplifying our expectations and schedules.
OFS Program Director Alexandra Dutton talks with teacher Madison Montoya about the importance of Gratitude. Gratitude is shown to help improve mental health and ward off negative emotions, while helping us to be more present and positive. Madison and Alexandra share activities and games that encourage building the gratitude muscle.
Halloween is a fun, but sometimes scary, holiday for young children. Alexandra Dutton, OFS Program Director, and Rachel Turtledove, OFS Lafayette Preschool Teacher, discuss ways to make this holiday fun, safe, and memorable for our young ones.
All living things bite! But when that means your little one is biting you, or worse, biting other children, that is not an easy pill to swallow. Dorothy speaks with the OFS directors, Amy Baker, Judy Haus, and Alexandra Dutton, about why children bite, how to stop it, and how we deal with it at our schools.
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 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)
For young children, self regulation is a skill they are developing. They are still working on understanding how to respond to both positive and negative moments. Dorothy and Alex talk with Cheryl, an OFS Walnut Creek teacher and MFT, about how to help children develop self regulation and what our role is as parent or teacher.
Ever wonder how preschool teachers manage so many children throughout the day? Judy, OFS Walnut Creek director and Alex, OFS Lafayette director discuss some of our tried and true strategies that help make the day go better for everyone! They also share some child development knowledge that helps to understand what is happening in those little brains.
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.
Ever wonder what potty training is like when teachers do it? Listen to 4 directors chat about their experience potty training their own children as well as working with families in the midst of the process. Understanding the individual children's development and following their physical and emotional cues are the keys to success during this big transition!