Laura Minnigerode: Teaching Portfolio

Thank you for visiting this site. Please contact me for more information!

Some examples of student project work, book + cooking club:

Top row: Learning about the concept of smorgasbord, in connection with the book Snow Treasure. Bottom left and center: Breakfast dishes featuring mangoes and avocado, at a book club meeting for the book Hello, Universe. Bottom right: Homemade Thousand Island dressing, created as a unit study of foods from the 1930s. (Book was Mr. Popper’s Penguins).

Please visit for more cooking projects.

Student outdoor learning:

Left: Loose parts at Toybrary, Right: Stringing popcorn and cranberries and decorating trees, winter camp at the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Presenting my research poster session at Games, Learning and Society Conference, Madison, WI. IMG_0939

Podcast on tickling

It might sound odd at first to suggest re-thinking the practice of tickling. Kids laugh when you tickle, right, so they must like it? Not necessarily. There is an element of losing control over your response in tickling that we don’t consider; possibly because it is such a tradition. I wholeheartedly advocate for examining the tradition of tickling (and the feelings that come up in response to questioning it!). This podcast is a great way to start. Podcast on tickling

Live, on Facebook: 3 Part Series for Parents of Babies

Join Grace Fleming and me for this 3 part Facebook Lives series focused on babies. We will talk about some tools to help you to stay present and respond to your babies tears, how playful interactions can help your baby, and give you a tool to help ease separation anxiety.

After the event, the recordings of the videos can be found on the Hand in Hand Parenting Facebook page or Hand in Hand Parenting’s Youtube channel the following day.

I’d also love to receive topics or questions in advance- comment here!

8-8:30 PM central on Hand in Hand Parenting’s Facebook page

May 15 – Responding to Your Baby’s Tears

May 22 – Playful Interaction with Your Baby

May 29 – A Tool for Easing Separation Anxiety

Parenting for empathy class

Please join me on March 25 to talk about some very concrete ways to parent for empathy. In this 2 hour class, we’ll talk about what’s going on when our little ones melt down, and how to get back on track. Behavior is information and when we are able to take care of our own emotional wellbeing, we can see what’s going on behind the behavior. In this supportive class, we’ll try out some tools for listening and responding to big feelings. You’ll leave with more support for the hard and incredibly important work of parenting.

Laura Minnigerode is a certified Hand in Hand Parenting instructor, and parent of 3 teenagers. This class introduces the powerful Parenting by Connection tools: connected approaches that make parenting feel easier.

Tickets are $35 per person, couple/$50. Babies are welcome! Please contact me if you have questions, I would love to talk!


Sun, March 25, 2018

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Toybrary Austin

2001 Justin Lane

Austin, TX 78757



Click here to sign up now!

Upcoming Camps, Workshops and Events


Austin Forest School Drop-in Open House and Playdate

Austin Forest Wonderschool warmly invites families with children 2.5-8 years old to our drop-in forest play day. Our forest school environment will be a special place to learn and explore the world!

We would love to have you come to play as long as works for you and your little one, and learn more about the program.

Click here to RSVP for forest school drop in 

Learning with nature / Special Time class at Toybrary

Explore and play in nature, in the garden of Toybrary! This is a parent-child event that will incorporate connected learning ideas. Bring your little one to play with complex and interesting materials, build and explore. Each class provides next steps to support you for more learning with nature on your own. Ages 1-3.

Friday mornings, 10:30-11:30, beginning Feb. 2, at Toybrary Austin

(event link coming soon)


Parenting from the Inside Out Book Group

Join me ONLINE for a life changing book group with the book Parenting from the Inside Out, by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell. What I love about this book: it really effectively explores the ‘extent to which our childhood experiences impact the way we parent’: that phrasing is directly from the publisher’s description of the book. I also add that our childhood experience impacts most other aspects of ALL of our relationships. Drawing upon surprising and under-discussed findings in neurobiology, this book explains how interpersonal relationships directly impact our brain. In the group, we will use the book’s step-by-step approach as a guide. In the process, we will develop a comfort with our own life stories with the goal of helping us ‘raise compassionate and resilient children’. This group meets online for 4 Sunday afternoons, with the possibility of adding a 5th meeting. 

Sign up here


Spring Break Forest School Camp

Please join me for a forest school and cooking camp, March 14 Wednesday of Austin spring break.

For ages 4 and up.

Camp will last from 9-3, and will take place in the greenbelt (mostly) and at my home near the greenbelt. The day will include hiking each day, lots of making things, games, and of course some cooking.


Sign up here:




Transferring a napping baby

Sometimes you are pleased to sit with a sleepy baby on you. Other times. you might not have the time and space in your life. Here is a method I developed by trial and error while working in the baby room at a lovely little NAEYC accredited school. I hope it is helpful- I’d love to hear if you try it and find it works for you!!

I think you will need to use this as a starting point and then tweak it to get it to work.

Baby Transfer Method
1/ Be sure baby is very asleep
2/ Start to match your breath with baby’s, if it is not already, so that you are attuned
3/ Stand up and move slowly to crib
4/ Use ‘resting hand’ on the baby’s back to stabilize- slowly transfer, and if you can transfer with less turning the better, so you might need to bend quite a bit
5/Place baby on his side, not on bag as that can lead to startling
6/ Cradle the elbow joint- also- again use a hand with a tiny bit of pressure on back. – continue to breathe slowly and exhale audibly
Baby might wake up at first. Stay with him and keep trying to match his breathing, keeping your hand on his back. He will most likely settle back in. You have not failed if you have to pick him up!
Namaste, dear mamas!

In 2018, Parenting will become easier

Start the new year with support and tools that will make a very big change for your family. Join me for a class that meets in person, or online, and build your toolbox.

This series will provide brain-based tools AND the support you need to use them. In the process, you’ll change your family life to make it feel more connected. This is a 6-week series where you will receive support to build on new ideas and approaches.

In this class, based on Hand in Hand Parenting tools, you’ll learn AND practice with support:

6 tools needed to raise a happy child
How you can best respond to upsets and tantrums
How your child’s emotions work
How to heal your child’s fears
How to help an angry child become playful and compassionate
How to build support for yourself, so you do your best thinking more often

The class includes six in person meetings, at a location near downtown Austin, or video call consultations.

Contact me if you would like to talk about the class. We can make it work for your schedule, and I know it will be a powerful way to start your year.

Sign up here:




Two Life Changing Parenting Books as Gifts

It is about to be holiday season. Yay! for time with family. Boo for shopping (IMHO).

But this post is about books! Books are ALWAYS good, (IMHO). I have had people tell me that a book that I gave as a gift made a lasting difference in their life. How wonderful is that?

The two books below are such good ones, they could turn out to be that special, life changing thing for a friend or family member who is a parent. They are also ones you should put on your own wish list.

Listen offers a new understanding of children’s emotions and shares effective tools for easing the stress of parenting during even the most challenging interactions. Daniel Siegel describes it as ‘a science-informed, practical strategy for parenting our children well.’

Playful Parenting is ‘an exciting new approach to raising children that will help you nurture close connections, solve behavior problems, and encourage confidence.’

(Disclosure: Note that purchasing Listen from this link will help support this blog and the work we do for parents).

Happy reading and sharing! LISTEN Hi Res Cover-front_preview

Guest post: How to Maximize Naptime

This is a post shared from, a blogger who writes about parenting from a Montessori teacher perspective.  She is a great resource, and I love that she is also from Austin, TX!  I asked her if I could share this post, because I love the way she approaches thinking about time, and how thoughtful she is about including reflection and time to relax. And the need for flexibility.  Be sure to visit her site for a lot of great information.

As any parent of young kids knows, nap time is super valuable, and one of the best (only?) times to get things done.  I actually find myself wondering how parents get anything done when their kids no longer nap, but I try not to think about that too much.

When I first had James, especially when his naps were often short and unpredictable, I found myself a little frantic during naps.  I wanted to get so much done, but my brain was too foggy to remember it all and I wasn’t sure where to begin.  Plus I also wanted to just lay down and relax sometimes, but if I did that, I just kept thinking about all of the things I should be doing.

Well I finally have a nap time strategy that works well for me, so I thought I’d share.

1. Make a plan – and write it down

This seems fairly obvious, but it took me a while to actually start doing this.  I would come up with a plan in my mind, but I would often forget what it was and I still found myself questioning the best use of the time the whole time he was sleeping.

Now I take a few minutes on Sunday and schedule what I plan to do during each nap time throughout the week.  I enter it all in my Google calendar.  Jame’s naps aren’t always at the exact same time, but he always takes two right now and they’re roughly at 9 and 1:30, so I just use those times on my calendar.

Obviously things change throughout the week, so each night I look at what I’ve planned for the next day and adjust as needed.

2. Don’t save everything for nap time

Sometimes I’ve planned to get something done during nap time, but then I look around and the house is chaos and I decide to spend *just a few minutes* straightening up.  It’s never just a few minutes.  Even if it is, that’s still time I could have used toward whatever I planned.

So I really try to do that straightening up when James is awake.  It is a more efficient use of my time and I also think it’s beneficial to show even very young children that cleaning up is a part of playing and a part of life.  Sometimes it’s comical trying to put things away with my little sidekick following me around “fixing” everything, but I just remind myself that I have all the time I need.  I also do things like folding laundry while James is playing next to me.  Some chores, like sweeping and mopping, are pretty impossible with a baby nearby, but I am often surprised by how much I can get done while he’s happily playing in the living room or kitchen.

3. Divide the time

I’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that I will never again be fully caught up on everything, at least not for eighteen years or so.  Housework is pretty quickly undone around here, and that’s okay, it’s just part of this (mostly really fun) stage.  Still, I don’t want to spend every minute of James’s nap time cleaning, that’s just no fun and it would leave no time for things I love (like writing this blog!)

So I roughly divide what I work on by his two naps.  I generally use his morning nap for computer projects, like the blog, freelance writing, working on his baby book, planning trips, emails, etc.  I then use his afternoon nap for cleaning and prepping dinner.  This helps the house not get too out of control, but also ensures I have time to work on other things.

This also works for me because I’m a big time morning person, so it makes sense to do the things that require thought / creativity in the morning.  I think it helps to figure out what time of day you do your best work.

Obviously he won’t always take two naps.  When he moves down to one nap, I’ll probably either divide the time in half, or alternate days, depending on how long his nap winds up being.

4. Commit to relaxation

While it’s tempting to use every second of every nap trying to catch up, that would make me crazy.  Everyone needs some time to just chill (and we’ve already established we’re never catching up anyway, so might as well take a break).

I usually use at least one Friday nap and read a book.  This is one of my favorite times of the week.  It feels luxurious to sit with a book in the middle of the morning and it’s something nice to look forward to at the end of the week.  Because I’ve planned it ahead of time, I have an easier time just relaxing instead of thinking about everything I should be doing instead.

5. Be flexible

This is definitely the hardest for me.  While I do think it really helps to have a plan, obviously baby isn’t in on this plan and he may only sleep for thirty minutes, regardless of what you need to get done.

One thing that helps me with this is setting a minimum nap time.

I didn’t do this when he was younger, and would often wake up crying, but now I pretty much always make nap time at least an hour, even if he wakes up sooner.  He stays in his bed until it has been an hour (this isn’t a hard and fast rule, I would certainly go check on him if he was really upset).  He usually just talks to himself in his bed when this happens, and sometimes even falls back to sleep!

How do you maximize your time, any tricks?

Are you a morning or night person?

Parenting from the Inside Out by Dan Siegel, MD: Join me for a Book Group

This book provides insight into the way our own childhood shapes the way we parent. Working with our own story and forming a deeper understanding of our experiences is the first step in raising happy and healthy children. Please join me in a guided reading, with journal writing and refection with this powerful book. We will dig into our own stories and experiences.

About the book:

How many parents have found themselves thinking: I can’t believe I just said to my child the very thing my parents used to say to me! Am I just destined to repeat the mistakes of my parents? In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences actually do shape the way we parent. Drawing upon stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

This group will meet every other week- location TBD. We will have online discussion between meetings.  Note that if you are unable to attend the  meetings in person, a virtual meeting option is available.

Please contact me to join a group with this amazing book.



Fill Your Ears and Heart With Supportiveness: New Parent Podcasts

Amaya LynneBabies and little ones are searching for a safe person, from the moment they arrive. And our tone and even eye contact are so much more than the words we say.  I love the gentleness and love communicated in the voices of Patty Wipfler and others in the podcast series known at Hand in Hand New Parent Podcasts. They include podcasts for new fathers. Best of all, they are free and easy to access: check them out now!