Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Dec. 26

Do cell phones belong in the classroom?

Pottery on the wheel: There is a new opportunity for your children to learn pottery on the wheel at the Community Center. The class is on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Jan. 21 to March 11. Students will explore a range of forms through multiple class projects in this all-level throwing class. Register online at The class is $240 for nonmembers and $216 for members.

Family hike: The First Day Gratitude Hike is a guided trip up some of the most gorgeous trails on Sonoma Mountain at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1. It’s a great way to start the new year off right. Sign up at

Budget talks: From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the Altimira Middle School, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District will be hosting a Community Finance Meeting. All are welcome.

Cooking fun: Williams-Sonoma on Broadway offers regular junior chef events for ages 7 and up. Coming up next, all from 4 to 5 p.m. in the afternoon, is fresh pasta on Jan. 15; tacos and more on Jan. 22; and basic sauces on Jan. 29. Stop by the store for more information.

School tour: Woodland Star Charter School is a public Waldorf school serving families with children from kindergarten through eighth grade. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, the community is invited to tour classrooms, meet teachers and administrators, and ask questions about a Waldorf education. Adults only for the tour but childcare is available.

Free books: The Sonoma County Free Bookmobile will be in the area on Saturday, Jan. 6. Stop by the Kenwood Market from noon to 1 p.m.; the Glen Ellen Post Office from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. or the Fiesta Center in Boyes Hot Springs from 3 to 5 p.m. You can take or donate books.

Snow: The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County’s annual “Snow Days” will have twice as much snow this year. Stop by from Jan. 13 to 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 1835 W. Steele Lane in Santa Rosa. Forty tons of fresh snow will be delivered and maintained over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. Children are invited to build snowmen and igloos, throw snowballs at targets and enjoy free-play in a covered tent. The event will also feature a shaped snow hill for toboggans and saucers. Several winter-themed science demonstrations, art projects and activities are planned each day of the event. Tickets are $15 or at the door.

Positive discipline: Sonoma Valley Library is hosting a “Parenting Though Positive Discipline” workshop at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8. The 90-minute workshop provides parents with tools to help overcome challenges and encourage responsibility, connection communication and joy in the family dynamic. It is taught by Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educators. The event is free and open to all

Free art fun: Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art invites visitors of all ages to stop by and get creative at a variety of art stations while enjoying scenic views of Winery Lake. The open studios run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 30. Education staff and volunteers will be on hand to assist with the creative experience and non-toxic art supplies are provided.

Future doctors take note: Sonoma State University will be hosting “My Future is in Healthcare Careers” full-day healthcare symposium and workshops from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19. Register at

Pain relief and ADHD: A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found a link between regular and repeated acetaminophen use during pregnancy and the risk of a child eventually being diagnosed with A.D.H.D. The findings are nuanced though, read a longer article about it at

Cell phones in schools: France’s education minister has announced that mobile phones will be banned from grades k-8. He described the decision as a public health issue. Phones are already prohibited in classrooms in France, but in fall 2018 students won’t be allowed to use them on breaks or at lunch. “These days, the children don’t play at break time anymore,” Jean-Michel Blanquer told The Local, an English-language publication. “They are just all in front of their smartphones and from an educational point of view, that’s a problem.” Read the complete article at

Christmas trees: The Sonoma Valley Girl Scouts will begin picking up Christmas trees this Saturday, Dec. 30, and do so again for the next two Saturdays as well.

Summer plans: It’s time to start thinking about summer plans. I have compiled a list of free and low-cost residential summer programs for middle school and high school students. Check out the list at

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