If you want to go ice skating, you have to head to Santa Rosa or San Francisco, right? Wrong! This fall and winter, Marin on Ice comes to San Rafael's Northgate Mall. Open November 10, 2012 through January 13, 2013, Marin County's only holiday ice skating rink features 5,000 square feet of real ice and will be open daily for outdoor skating.
Special sessions at Marin on Ice include Wednesday "Mommy and Me" skating time geared toward young children and their parents, "Family Night" on Tuesday, and "Rock the Rink" on Friday evenings. Skating is $15 per person, which includes skate rental. Private ice cabanas will also be available for rental, and "Skate Buddies" will be on hand to assist beginnners.
Marin on Ice will also offer birthday parties during public skating hours. The cost is $300 for up to 10 skaters, and two-hour parties include a private ice cabana, skate rental for everyone, chairs, a special birthday announcment on Rink Radio, and a ride for the birthday boy or girl on the rink's mini zamboni. The rink's three ice cabanas can be combined so parties can be for 10, 20, or 30 people. Private rink rentals are also available for your group, organization, or business.
Are your little swashbucklers interested in the sport of fencing? Are you, for that matter? Then stop by Marin Fencing Academy's Family Fencing Day this Sunday, October 21, from 1 to 3 pm.
Learn about the history of fencing, the health benefits, packages for companies and school groups, and other benefits of the sport. There will be a demonstration of electric foil and épée by Marin Fencing Academy students, both adults and children, and refreshments will be provided. All attendees will be eligible to win a free month of fencing classes and one private lesson, too!
This weekend Marin's own Golden Gate Opera presents its beloved production of Hansel and Gretel at the Marin Showcase Theatre in San Rafael. This opera version of the Brothers Grimm story (by the 19th-century German composer, not the '70s singer…) is a favorite of families worldwide and tells the story of the two young title characters who stumble upon the witch's gingerbread house while lost in the woods. This production will be sung in English and is a perfect introduction to opera for kids ages 3 and up.
Performances are Friday, October 26 at 7 pm and Sunday, October 28 at 2 pm.
Hansel and Gretel has been popular with adults and children since its premiere in 1893, and is often performed around Christmas—but of course with its wicked witch it's perfect for the Halloween season! Its music is influenced by both traditional German folksongs and the works of Humperdinck's mentor, composer Richard Wagner.
Managing sibling relationships can be one of parentings biggest challenges. If you're interesting in learning more about how to help your children become more cooperative, caring, and compassionate, the Parents Place in San Rafael is offering a one-evening course "Positive Sibling Relationships" for parents of children ages 2–10 on Monday, October 15, from 6:30–8:30 pm.
In this class, parents will explore this important relationship and discuss conflict, fairness, and sharing. This course is facilitated by parent educator and early childhood mental health consultant Bonnie Romanow. Bonnie is a Jane Nelsen-certified parent educator and a certified Waldorf early education teacher, and also serves as an early childhood mental health consultant in Marin and Sonoma counties, supporting parents and professionals in meeting the emotional needs of young children.
Bonnie’s parenting classes run the gamut—from positive discipline and anger management to raising daughters and spirited children. A former early childhood teacher and preschool director, Bonnie was the founding member of the Great Oaks School in the Chicago area. She also worked with teens in the Youth At-Risk community program.
It's always been a challenge to find good BBQ in the Bay Area, let alone Marin County, but we're happy to see that the situation is changing. The newest contender for local BBQ top dog is Best Lil' Porkhouse, which serves up traditional BBQ favorites from its location on San Rafael's Miracle Mile.
On our recent visit, we were pleasantly surprised by how good everything was—not that we expected anything to be bad, but because the food seemed to be made with extra care and attention to detail. The restaurant itself is really small, with only three tables in the tiny dining area. It looks like they're expanding to the space next door, but until then you might want to either get there early or get your order to go, which seems to be a popular option. There's table out on the sidewalk for outdoor dining, too.
The Porkhouse is decorated in a cowboy theme, and feels like a roadhouse somewhere in the South. Each table has its own roll of paper towels and squeeze bottles with two kinds of house-made BBQ sauces, as well as a selection of hot sauces.
Order at the counter and the staff will bring out your food. The Porkhouse offers platters and sandwiches, each of which are accompanied by a variety of homemade sides. Smoked meats are the real BBQ deal here, and are served with a small amount of sauce—you can add more if you like.
It's Summerfest time! Come have fun and help save critical school programs for San Rafael City Schools at the HeadsUp Summerfest Carnival on Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 11 am to 5 pm.
This fun and free event takes place at San Rafael High School and features game booths, a giant slide, bounce houses, a petting zoo, face painting, henna body art, photo booth, kiss-a-pig, a dunk tank, wheel of fortune, art displays, performances by school music groups, BBQ treats, local band GWood Gents, and more. Also on hand will be the celebrated Summerfest Cake Walk—show off your baking skills or join the fun and win a cake.
Students can submit entries to the essay writing and art contest with the theme Making San Rafael a Better Place to Live. Write an essay on no more than one page that tells what you do now, what you will do, or what you'd like to do someday to make San Rafael an even better place to live. Winning essays will be from four age groups: grades K–2, 3–5, middle school, and high school. Entries are due by Friday, September 21; mail to HeadsUp, PO Box 150157, San Rafael, CA 94901, attn: K. Murphy.
Located in the Terra Linda area of San Rafael, University of Play is a preschool program for children ages 2–kindergarten that encourages each child to develop through play and active expression. We asked University of Play's director, Sylvia Stowell, to tell us a bit more about what makes her school unique.
For more information on University of Play and its programs, visit www.uoplay.com or call (415) 499-0309
Please describe your school’s educational philosophy. What’s it all about?
University of Play (UOP) is an inclusive childcare program where each child's individual development is respected and valued. Children use all their senses to learn; children thrive when they feel loved, safe,and respected by the people who care for them.
The culture of UOP embraces the idea that children learn experientially, by doing rather then being instructed. UOP's enriching environment is stimulating, and encourages each child to develop through active play and free expression. Playing with their peers helps children build skills for seeing things through another point of view. The peer interaction encourages tolerance, respect, helping, sharing, and problem solving.
Still looking for a fantastic preschool experience for your child? Marinwood Preschool, a highly regarded local school offering classes for children ages 2 to 4, still has a few openings for this fall.
In Marinwood's Parent-Toddler Class for 2- and 3-year-olds, parents and toddlers will meet new friends, create art, and enjoy music, storytime, and outdoor adventures. Marinwood Morning School is for 4-year-olds, and prepares children for kindergarten in a play-based, half-day program.
Marinwood classes are lower in tuition costs than most other early childhood programs in Marin County. Classes are held at Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Road in San Rafael.
Learn about tantrums, toilet training, and strategies to make the "twos" truly terrific. The Parents Place in San Rafael is offering a Terrific Twos (14–36 months) workshop for parents tomorrow evening, August 15 from 6:30–8:30 pm. The workshop will cover setting limits, coping with aggression, developing socialization skills, and more.
Instructor and parent educator Susan Byrd facilitates Parents Place workshops for parents of toddlers and preschool-age children. Her areas of expertise include issues for new parents and young children, such as sleep, toilet learning, limit-setting, tantrums, positive discipline, parent-child separation, and adjustment to school and family changes.