parenting classes

New Parenting Workshops in Irvine!

Up until now most of our focus on classes has been preparing expecting parents for birth, breastfeeding and baby care. And while we truly believe those things are important, we know there's so much more for parents to learn as they adjust and grow with their little ones. 

That is why we're incredibly excited to be collaborating with the best Orange County educators to offer parenting classes and workshops at our education center in Irvine. 

We hope to see you at one or more of these workshops soon! For any questions about these classes, please contact the individual instructors. 


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Montessori 101: Setting up the Home Environment - May 3rd, 4-5pm

Discuss how to incorporate Montessori at home with your baby, starting from birth. Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. We’ll explore how to set up your play space to promote learning and how to help your baby develop their concentration, perseverance and independence through play. You will leave with a better understanding of how to meet your child’s developmental needs throughout infancy.

Berenice Saint-Saens of Monti Kids received her International Montessori teacher certification and has helped guide children 0-3 years old and their families. She has now transitioned out of the classroom and is working for a wonderful company, Monti Kids, that empowers families to bring education to their homes starting at birth. Workshop is $15/person.


Parenting for a Peaceful Community: Introduction to Nonviolent Parenting, June 24th 10:15am-12:45pm

Peace begins at home. As parents, cultivating and maintaining authentic connection with our children throughout their childhoods will support the development of emotionally healthy and self-aware children, peaceful families, and ultimately a peaceful society. However maintaining this connection through the daily demands of family life in our fast past culture can be quite a challenge. Nonviolent Parenting shows us how to keep those doors of connection open no matter what, even through the challenges of setting limits and power struggles.

In this 2.5 hour Introductory session, taught by Leslie Hillenbrand of Comadre Wellness, participants will be exposed to key concepts that include:

  • Setting limits & boundaries with your children while creating an environment of empathy and connection

  • Supporting your child's growing self-awareness and awareness of others

  • Ways to assist your child in expressing their own feelings and needs verbally as well as listening to the feelings and needs of others

  • Tools that encourage your child to make their own positive choices and develop solutions to problems where everyone’s needs matter

  • Developing self-empathy and releasing parental guilt and shame

  • How to cultivate emotional intelligence and problem solving in our children using the latest research in brain development

Leslie Arreola-Hillenbrand is a Chicana mother to two biracial girls. She holds a B.A. in Child Development & Family Studies, a B.A. in Family Life Education and is currently working towards her Masters in Social Work with an Emphasis in Community Mental Health at CSU Fullerton. She believes that strengths-based, community-based, culturally competent, & trauma-informed parent education and mothering networks rooted in Nonviolent Communication for Latino/a communities is a living social justice movement towards opportunity and equality for Latinx families. 

The cost of this workshop is $30 per individual or $45 per couple. 


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New Parent's Workshop: Improving Partner Communication - June 30th, 10am-1pm

– Do you feel like your partner doesn’t listen to you?
– Do you find yourself nagging, or feel like you are being nagged more than you used to?
– Does it feel like there is more conflict since baby arrived?
– Do your partner’s words or actions sometimes make you feel unappreciated?

This workshop will address these issues and more.

Having a baby adds many stressors to a relationship, and poor communication can exacerbate the problem. Additionally, even the most connected couples may feel like their relationship is being neglected in the first months (or even years!) of parenthood.

Erin Harris of Healthy Communicator designed this seminar to help both prenatal and postpartum couples learn how to more effectively talk to each other by looking at each other’s personal communication styles. This seminar is $95/couple.

A Match Made in Heaven: Doulas & Montessori

We are excited to be partnering with Bérénice Saint-Saëns of Monti Kids to offer a new class to help parents prepare their homes based on Montessori principles. Dr. Montessori described child development as the continuous gaining of independence and Montessori 101 will provide a comprehensive introduction as well as insight on raising your child to be self-confident, capable, and self-sufficient. A child who is raised with independence lives with dignity and has the confidence to take on challenges throughout life. 

The Magic of Infant Massage

In honor of our upcoming Infant Massage series at Doulas of Orange County, our wonderful instructor Kathleen Thomas-Sarles is sharing more about the magic this healing and bonding activity provides. Kathie provided a lovely hands-on demo at our New Mama Cafe this week and we weren't surprised to hear that everyone LOVED it! Learn more about Kathie and her expertise in Infant Massage on her website

According to Infant Massage USA, there are many benefits to regular infant massage:

1. Stimulation: Skin sensitivity (touch) is the earliest developed function which is most crucial for all the sensory systems, for muscle development, and overall health.

2. Relaxation: Massage helps balance our autonomic nervous system. Massage helps to relieve tension built up from all the stimulation in our baby’s environment. It can help your baby sleep better: (longer and deeper sleep) and helps with self-regulation and self-soothing.

3. Relief of Physical Discomfort: such as gas and colic, constipation, muscular tension or stiffness and sensitivity to touch or disorganization of the nervous system.

 4. Interaction: Touch is one of the most critical elements to the bonding process.  Learn your baby’s cues and build trust.


Babies are touchable, squeezable, kissable and overall intoxicating! Our babies have the power to make us touch, hold, and care for them!  That touch-communication begins at birth or even before, (pregnant moms are always rubbing their bellies), and continues as the baby grows and develops. The question is often asked, “Why should parents learn infant massage when they touch their babies often throughout the day anyway?”  

Infant massage USA uses a systematic method of touch that incorporates two types of strokes: Indian and Swedish, and combines that with a heightened awareness of the cues our babies give us. Observation and “being present” with our baby is the cornerstone of this process.   Massage begins with a question directed to our baby,” Would you like a massage?”, and continues with non-verbal communication that builds trust between the two participants. We never massage a crying baby, we do however, respond to that cry with another method of touch and love.  

There are many benefits to infant massage, but the one that stands out as crucial is the deep bonding that occurs through this one-on-one time. Finding the time in your day when you and your baby are ready for this interaction and setting aside all other concerns, allows you and your baby to get to know each other more completely. When touch is offered lovingly and respectfully it is most often accepted. As parents we gradually learn when our baby is not ready for this touch and note the cues. This skill of reading cues is beneficial throughout our child’s life, as children do not always use their words to tell us what they want.

“Infants communicate through their bodies. When you engage an infant in a massage, you begin to listen to the infant: you listen to sounds, you watch movements, you listen with your eyes, your ears and your heart. “Infant massage, or touch communication nurtures the most important relationship the child will ever have: the relationship between the parent and infant”. Elaine Fogel Schnieder, Ph.D

Vimala McClure founder of Infant Massage USA tells us,”Touch is the first sense to form in-utero and the last to leave us in death.  It is the only sense we can’t live without.” Infant massage when incorporated into your daily schedule, has the added benefits of better sleep, better digestion, muscle and brain development and increased self -soothing ability of your baby.  Massage gives parents more confidence due to their successful response to their baby’s needs, and the baby learns to trust that their needs will be met.  Both parent and child benefit from the massage not only in the moment, but for a lifetime of communication. Infant massage creates a space where baby and parent come together to communicate through touch and learn the wonders of each other.


Kathie's 4-week series launches Sunday, September 3rd at at 10:30am in Irvine. These hour and a half sessions are held at our baby-friendly office. Each class will include guided understanding and modeling of strokes, education regarding temperament, relationship, development, behavioral states and touch as a first communication. You will learn how to create a sense of trust, respect and confidence for you and your baby and maximize your bonding time. This class is great for moms, dads, and grandparents! 

Check out Kathie's Intro to Infant Massage session on Sunday, August 27th at 10:30 or join us for  New Mama Cafe on Tuesday, September 5th at 11:30am to learn more. This info session will provide you with everything you need to know to sign up for the 4-week series and includes a hands-on demo! Registration is required. 

Read more about this new series and instructions on how to register on our events page. For questions, please email Kathie directly at ktsarles@gmail.com