Most of my mommy friends told me I had to interview someone from Outside the Box, a brain development, play based learning class for parents and their children aged 8 weeks-6 years old. Most of my friends have created classes and love it! I was so happy to be able to be in touch with Octavia, the mother and creator behind OTB.
Q1: Tell me about yourself
I am not really that exciting! I am a mother of three, ages 24, 21 and 11. I have jumped around a lot in my short lifetime in the way of profession to include law, midwifery, medicine, bodywork/therapy, big pharma, infant massage, hypnosis, child development, corporate, and neuroscience. OTB is the brainchild of mixing my birthing community clientele’ with my love for how the brain works. I am a practicing Buddhist and I do humanitarian work abroad every year. I work mostly in Vesnova and CCPI (Children’s Charities Project International), but am currently working with Unatti which helps orphaned children in Nepal. I like reading, writing, and long baths – I am a scorpio (kidding)!!
Q2. What made you decide to start OTB?
Well, I was in a position where I needed to do something I loved for a living (I think we all get there eventually). I was making a lot of money working for the big pharma and the job was mind-numbing. Not to mention it was not in alignment with my newfound love for homeopathy, honesty and being authentic. I saw that parents were great at “care-taking” for their children, but not great at “playing” or “engaging”. I wanted to teach them how to “play”. Right about that time a lot of research was being introduced about the importance of “play based learning”, so I took a stab at it. I wanted to show parents how important their role as a teacher was/is and give them guidance on how to do it. The last important component was the science. We wanted parents to know what they were doing, and why. So, I invited 11 moms over to my house, fed them and asked for “real, honest and raw” feedback on what they thought of my little idea. It was a hit and then within 6 months I was teaching 17 classes a week!
Q3. For someone who has never heard of it or is looking to join, can you explain how OTB works?
Simply put, we are a multi-sensory brain development program for parents and their children 8 weeks to 6 years old. We are committed to play-based learning at all ages, where the parents are their child’s most important and most effective teacher!
Q4. What does a session/class entail?
A session is 8 weeks long. A class will consist of core activities to include an audio stimulation activity, a visual stimulation activity, gross motor and fine motor exercises and one or more sensory activities. All classes have an opening and a closing so children can easily read the cues. Parents are in class with their child at all times, regardless of age. Our people are the class “facilitators”, the parents are the “teachers”.
Q5. Why is OTB so important for childhood development?
I think it helps parents become a part of the process more than anything. We are committed to assisting in the creation of the “whole” child, not just the “academically inclined” child. Terms that are important to us are; relevance, communication, flexibility, cooperation, engagement, patience, self-trust, and play. We want parents to learn their relevance to their child’s lives, we want them to develop their own love communication with their children, we want them to learn how to be flexible and cooperative with the phases of development . . . physically, emotionally and mentally that their children are experiencing. We want them to acknowledge how important their engagement with their children is to ensure a happy, healthy and “whole” child. We want to help them practice patience and understanding that being a child living in a culture with so many expectations is difficult. Most importantly, we want parents to feel confident listening to their own instincts through self-trust with “everything baby” and last but not least embrace the importance of play.