Mill Valley

Confidence, not Competence Predicts Future Math Learning...

February 14, 2013

Marin Mommies presents a guest post by Scott Rubin of Mill Valley Mathnasium.

Do you believe you're not good at math? Various studies suggest that with motivation and good teaching strategies, anyone can succeed in math. In fact, studies have shown that students who are motivated to do well actually learn faster than students with higher IQs who are less motivated. It doesn't matter if you are at grade level, ahead, or a grade level behind. The right motivation and tools will help you succeed. Just accept your starting point and move forward with the right attitude.

It's important to develop a sense of ability in a child early on, especially when it comes to mathematics. If your child does not have a strong foundation by the time they enter high school you can expect a lot of stress and anxiety (for everyone).

Forcing kids to hit the books every night however, won't necessarily result in superb math skills. Students have to want to learn—this is where the challenge lies. Parents need to find ways to motivate their children without adding pressure. Setting goals and rewarding their success is a good starting point. As they work and achieve their objectives, their confidence will grow and math will no longer be perceived as intimidating. It also may be more helpful for parents and teachers to show how math ties to real life—for instance, understanding that four $3 slices of pizza cost $12 rather than just memorizing times tables.

An Enchanting "Ivy + Bean: The Musical"

February 12, 2013

Ivy and BeanMy daughter is a huge fan of the Ivy + Bean book series by local author Annie Barrows, so we were really excited to hear that a new children's theater production of Ivy + Bean: The Musical opening at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage. Produced by Bay Area Children's Theater, Ivy + Bean: The Musical is a fun and faithful adaptation of the first book in the New York Times-best-selling series about two second graders, outgoing Bean and quiet but imaginitive Ivy, who were sure they wouldn't like each other but end up best friends.

We were lucky enough to attend the world premiere performance of this delightful children's musical, and we had a great time. The production follows the plot of the first Ivy + Bean book very closely, and shows how Ivy and Bean—two girls with opposite personalities—become forever friends after Ivy helps Bean out of a bind and manages to help infuriate Bean's bossy older sister, Nancy, in the process.

This fast-paced play lasts approximately an hour with no intermission, and is recommended for kids ages 4 and up. The action moves quickly, keeping little ones entertained and enthralled, and Megan Putnam and Catherine Gloria are perfectly cast as the title characters. The other actors handle multiple roles with aplomb (It took my kids—and my husband—a while to figure out that most of the supporting actors had dual roles!)

Math Tips and More from Mathnasium of Mill Valley

January 27, 2013

mathnasiumMarin Mommies presents a guest post by Scott Rubin of Mill Valley Mathnasium, featuring a great math tip for parents, a math joke, and a math question.

Math Tip

Why do parents read to their children, but not do "math" with their children?  Many parents feel uncomfortable with speaking "math" and lack confidence in their own math aptitude. Simple number counting goes a long way, especially at a very impressionable young age. You can start at any age, even as early as one year old.  Count from 1 to 10 by ones and twos. Also, count up to 20, 30, etc. and count by threes, fours, etc.

Count by ones while handing a ball to your child then subtract one while taking a ball back. Be creative, because you can make a difference in your child's "math" life with these simple techniques.

Math Question

Today, Jenny picked 8 flowers. Yesterday, she picked 3 more flowers than she picked today. How many total flowers did Jenny pick yesterday and today combined?

Speak to Me Film Screenings to Benefit Marin Schools

January 9, 2013

Jennifer Seibel NewsomSpeak to Me, producer of Marin's intelligent and inspiring series of events for women, has partnered with the YES! Foundation, Ross Valley School District Parent Education, and KIDDO! to do two benefit screenings (100% of proceeds go to YES! and KIDDO!) of the film Miss Representation. If you aren't familiar with the film, it has won all sorts of awards and has received accolades and praise from everyone from Oprah to Common Sense Media.

The film was written, produced, and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

Common Sense Media says "It's informative and enlightening and will be a total eye-opener for girls and their mothers. Show it to your girls AND your boys".

You deserve a night out at the movies right? And you can help raise a little much-needed money for our schools while you're at it.

The film screenings will take place on:

  • Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at Drake High School Little Theatre, 1327 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo. 100% of net proceeds go to the YES! Foundation
  • Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at Mill Valley Middle School, 425 Sycamore Avenue, Mill Valley. 100% of net proceeds go to the KIDDO! Foundation

New Children's Art Program in Mill Valley: The Little Art Studio

January 7, 2013

The Little Art Studio in Mill ValleyIf you're a southern Marin parent looking for art classes for your children, then check out the new Little Art Studio in Mill Valley. Owned and operated by Mill Valley based fine artist and art educator, Jhaya Warmington, the Little Art Studio offers a variety of fun and unique art classes and art themed birthday parties for children aged of 1 ½  to 12.

Each class is focused around a specific art medium or technique, and the children are encouraged to explore art materials in an open, safe, and supportive environment. The emphasis is on the creative process rather than the product, but the children always come away with incredible works of art. Small classes offer children a comfortable, creative, age-appropriate atmosphere, while promoting cooperation and connections. The students constantly watch each other, learn from each other, and learn how to work together.

It's a Wonderful Life at Marin Theatre Company - Win Tickets!

November 27, 2012

Marin Theatre Company It's a Wonderful LifeTonight is opening night for Marin Theatre Company's family friendly production of It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Running through December 16, Joe Landry's adaptation of Frank Capra's beloved film stages the story of everyman George Bailey as if it was a live radio play, with the audience playing the part of the live studio audience.

Five talented actors perform the voices of dozens of characters, as well as create foley sound effects to accompany the action. Directed by Jon Tracy, this unique version of the classic heartwarming holiday movie is perfect family fare for the holiday season.

Evening performances take place Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 pm, and Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:30 pm; matinees take place every Sunday and Saturday December 1 and 15 at 2 pm and Thursday December 6 at 1 pm. Tickets cost $36–$57, with discounts available for seniors and those under 30. Children under age 5 are not admitted. Bring your family or some friends and save up to 45% off regular price tickets to It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show with a Family Four Pack! Good for tickets to any performance. Use the code MMWONDER when you order by phone (415) 388-5208 or online. Must purchase 4 general price tickets to activate coupon, only one coupon per order, subject to availability, not applicable to previously purchased tickets.

Win Tickets to the November 27 Speak to Me Event with Marybeth Bond

November 5, 2012

Marybeth BondSpeak to Me, Marin's premiere series of intelligent, inspiring speaking events for women, presents "Passport to Discovery: Adventure, Creativity and Change Through Travel" a discussion with global travel expert, cross-country cyclist, founder of, and National Geographic award-winning author of 11 travel books Marybeth Bond on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, at 6:30 pm.

Travel offers us an opportunity to discover new worlds, cultures and ways of thinking. It can be our ticket to adventure, a psychological breakthrough or a vehicle for changing the world. As a global traveler and National Geographic author of 11 travel books including Gutsy Women, Gutsy Mamas, the Girlfriend Getaways series, Intelligent Travel, and the award-winning A Woman's World, Marybeth has done it all. She has hiked, biked, dived, danced, snow-shoed, skied, climbed, coptered, trekked, and traipsed her way through seven continents, and 90+ countries, from the depth of the Flores Sea to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. She will speak—with passion and from experience—about how travel experiences with family and girlfriends can stimulate growth and self-discovery, boost our spirits and enrich our lives.

We're giving away two free tickets to this event to a lucky Marin Mommies reader! Simply send an email to with "Speak to Me November" in the subject line by 11:59 pm PST on Friday, November 9, 2012. We'll choose a random winner on Saturday. Many thanks to Speak to Me for sponsoring this giveaway. Read our giveaway rules and conditions here.

Win Free Tickets to the October 23 Speak to Me Event in Mill Valley

October 9, 2012

John GraySpeak to Me, Marin's premiere series of intelligent, inspiring speaking events for women, presents "Mars and Venus Together Forever" a discussion with best-selling relationship author John Gray, Ph.D. on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at 6:30 pm. One of the most trusted voices in relationships today, Gray is the author of 17 books, including Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, which was named one of the 10 most influential books of the last 25 years.

Fortunately we live in a time when men and women expect more from their lives than ever before. As a result, we demand more from our relationships, too. Dr. Gray famously opened our eyes and helped us understand the innate differences between the communication patterns of men and women in Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Now that many of us have moved into a new stage in our romantic relationships, often with the added stresses of dual careers and parenting, Dr. Gray will share his unique insights on how we can better communicate with each other to foster long, healthy, and fulfilling relationships that will continue to flourish far into the future.

We're giving away two free tickets to this event to a lucky Marin Mommies reader! Simply send an email to with "Speak to Me" in the subject line by 11:59 pm PST on Friday, October 12, 2012. We'll choose a random winner on Saturday. Many thanks to Speak to Me for sponsoring this giveaway. Read our giveaway rules and conditions here.

Rolling Out the Red Carpet for the Children's FilmFest at the Mill Valley Film Festival

October 2, 2012

Mill Valley Film FestivalMarin Mommies presents another guest article by Marin Mom and writer Gabrielle Cullen.

Marin County will roll out the red carpet for the 35th Mill Valley Film Festival from October 4–14, 2012, and what better way to get a little glamour than to enjoy the fest as a fam? Introduce the little ones to films they’ll never normally see on the big screen, have a rocking good time at a Bollywood party and watch your budding Pixar illustrator work magic at an animation workshop. Here’s an inside guide to what may be one of the most unique kids events all year.

Don’t be Late: The Children’s FilmFest runs the length of the entire festival, from October 4–14 in and around Marin County. Locations for the kids film festival include the Christopher B. Smith Film Center, 142 Throckmorton Theatre, Intel Computer Clubhouse and others. Check out the website for more info.

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