Dear Recess Community...

Dear Recess Community,

Despite a flourishing community of incredible families with young children, dedicated caregivers, remarkably talented professionals, and a staff that couldn't be better, we are sad to announce that August will mark Recess' last month of business.  Recess will close the Potrero Hill location for its final day on August 31st, although that won't be the end! 

Our plan is to go full force until then! We have CPR classes, precess drop off program, our monthly dance party with Charity Kahn, sensory lab, and even date night drop off slated for the next couple of months. We hope you will join us and continue to support Recess until the very end. We need it.  If you'd like to build the nonprofit from the ground up together with us, there are several ways to do so (click here).  Any questions about Recess Collective or offers of assistance can be directed to

Closing Recess and leaving the community that has helped us grow up has been the hardest decision I’ve ever made.  Anyone focused on the numbers (and not on the impact we have on families) would argue that we should have closed 4 years ago when our rent doubled.  I naïvely believed that if we rolled up our sleeves at that time, we could piece it together, and continue to make Recess a success. Since then, we've spent nearly $1 million in rent and have reduced our profit margin to zero. Our building recently sold again, and the asking rent for our space is now increasing another 35%. I'm very simply not able to do it anymore. We cannot increase pricing for families coming to play (it’s already too high), we must pay our staff the living wage they deserve, and I owe it to my family to be able to bring home some kind of income.  So this is the end of this chapter for Recess. It has been an incredible experience getting to see children grow up, families create lasting memories and to know that parents are able to breathe a sigh of relief when they walk through our doors.

It really does take a village and you’ve been our amazing village.  Our very first member, Jenny Sagstrom, was an early believer and continues to support Recess with in-kind donations of design services from her company Skona. Beth Freeman, was another early adopter (in fact the first person to see our space as we were moving in).  Beth hasn’t used Recess in several years, as her daughter is nearly done with middle school, but she couldn’t come to terms with “quitting” Recess so decided to have us continue billing her $20 a month as a supporter. PREFund is a Potrero Hill based organization that has also helped Recess to flourish.  We have had the opportunity to work together with them on their mission to keep families in San Francisco by community building and supporting education. Of course, stories like this could go on for days. I am not sure how we’ve been so lucky.

You made this community, and you have allowed it to last over a decade.  We are incredibly thankful you chose to support our mission.  Stay tuned for announcements about celebrations we have slated (for current members and alumni) to come together again before the end of August.  While we’re closing Potrero Hill, it is all of you who have inspired us to keep playing a part in improving the landscape of San Francisco for families with young children. As we shift gears and look forward, we hope to bring the same joy and sense of support with us.  

If you share the belief that Recess (or something like it) should absolutely continue to exist in every neighborhood, as I do, please consider supporting our new nonprofit effort, Recess CollectiveAs a non-profit entity, our hope is to grow beyond the scope possible as a for-profit and reach even more families choosing to stay in the city.

Thank you to every single one of you.  We have been blessed to be surrounded by parents, small business owners, dedicated caregivers, educators & professionals in the community who have given support, shared feedback, and helped us flourish.

As Recess closes its doors, we hope you will please keep playing with those amazing children, supporting one another, and visiting us in our new home on Taraval.

All the best,

PS. RECESS MEMBERS:  We will still be taking care of you & you’ll hear from us within the next week with a note specifically addressing next steps for your membership.

Caring for your newborn, from the moment you meet them

Newborn Care Class

Join us and learn how to care for your newborn from those very first moments after birth, so that you can enter this new phase of your life confident and ready to begin!

An experiential class, each member in our intimate group setting will receive personalized instruction and hands-on training in how to care for their new baby. Members will leave feeling more familiar with newborn qualities and behaviors, and ready to tailor their new-found skills to their own newborn's unique needs.

In this thorough 4 hour Newborn Care class participants will learn:

  • Interpreting baby's cues
  • Cord care & newborn health
  • Sleep patterns & what to expect
  • What to expect immediately after the birth
  • Tummy time, baby wearing & kangaroo care
  • Jaundice and other common newborn conditions
  • Choosing a pediatrician & knowing when to call them
  • When to feed the baby & how to know they're getting enough
  • Supplies for bathing, diapering, nail trimming, skin care & more
  • How to bond more deeply, improve your sleep & learn to trust your parenting instincts

... And will receive hands-on instruction in:

  • Soothing
  • Swaddling
  • Diapering (cloth, compostable & disposable)
  • Holding baby & transferring them person to person
  • Bathing, nail trimming, the Colic Dance & other skills
  • lothing (what to buy, how to wash it and what to bring the baby home in!)

If the birthing parent is partnered, both parents are strongly encouraged to attend.


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:  Rebecca (Plum) Elowen, LM, CPM, IBCLC is a Midwife and Lactation Consultant who offers preconception, prenatal and postpartum midwifery care, lactation consultation, support groups, fertility support, and education in newborn care, breastfeeding and sibling preparation in SF, Marin, Sonoma and the East Bay. She strives always to uphold the midwifery model of care, offering information and empowerment, so that her clients can look back on their accomplishments with pride and a deeper sense of their own true power and wisdom. Rebecca received a B.A. in Psychology (with a emphasis on parent-infant attachment and bonding) from Mills College in 1999, became a Birth and Postpartum Doula in 2001, and became a Licensed & Certified Professional Midwife in 2010. In 2013 she became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and in 2018 was trained in Infant Craniosacral Therapy.  Rebecca has taught classes in newborn care, postpartum preparation, childbirth and sibling preparation, and breastfeeding at Carmel Blue, CPMC, Kaiser, Natural Resources, and privately since 2003, and has been facilitating various support groups for new parents since 2007.

SALE Alert! Toys, Books & Games

Play teaches children how to interact with others and learn about the world. The toys you select for young child help to support their development. We have a great variety of wooden toys, art supplies, and books curated to meet the needs of your growing children (and those you love).  

Swing by on Friday, July 13 & Saturday, July 14 to stock up on some great toys, party supplies, book and games.  

With a stash of high quality toys, you won't need to scramble to find a thoughtful gift for the next birthday party, baby shower or holiday event. 

Stock up now and breathe easy!  

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Navigate your options & design the birth you envision

Welcoming a baby is a time of transition and transformation that is likely to be filled with joy and challenge. It is also a time of decision-making for yourself and your baby, in a sea of opinions and advice from friends, family, and experts.  This class is designed to give you the information you need to plan for a birth that matches your ideals.   

The intersection of intelligence, extremely proficient communication, empathy (incredible awareness of others as individuals) and experience, make her a fantastic guide for any couple preparing to meet their baby. She is inclusive in her topics and presents a range of childbirthing options without judgement, if a leaning towards natural strategies, and one takes away that she has long witnessed women in their “power” via childbirth.
— Rachel S., San Francisco

About the Class 

Gents (if any are reading, if not, then tell your husbands ladies), I’ll be the first to admit that I was dragged kicking and screaming to that class. Two-days, four hours each session, and over the weekend no less! That said, I can’t properly express how well served I was, in retrospect, by having attended. It was relaxed, interesting, and really did provide the two of us with the information we needed in the run up to our son’s birth without (and this is key) overwhelming us. I would have been **absolutely** clueless at the hospital had I skipped that one.
— Wilson R, SF

Holistic Childbirth Prep workshops are designed to empower, explore and celebrate the many ways families choose to give birth and create family. This essential workshop is designed to demystify birth while guiding class participants to discover personal beliefs around pregnancy, partnership, birth, and parenthood, which will allow for a truly holistic childbirth experience. Class is designed to meet the needs of families birthing at birth centers, in their homes, at the hospital, or those who haven’t decided yet. This class is relevant to parents having their first, second or third child, depending on the needs of the family. 

In the one day Childbirth Education class with Kelly Gray, we will practice and review the following techniques and information:

• Love and Relaxation: Guided relaxation and the hormones of labor
Hormones are the bridge between the mind-body connection. They allow us to feel emotions and trigger physical responses to our environment and internal thought process. By understanding the hormones of labor, we can begin to understand how our connection to ourselves, our partner, our environment and our birth team will have a dramatic affect on our ability to birth from a place of safety. We'll practice guided relaxation while being informed about why it works beyond just feeling good. 

• Spinning Baby: The role of the baby, optimal fetal positioning, and troubleshooting through birth
One of the most important things we can do to encourage labor naturally and decrease interventions is to create more space in our uterus for the baby to align into the optimal fetal position. In class we will review optimal fetal positioning, exercises and yoga positions for before and during labor, and interventions that may impede optimal positioning and how to troubleshoot positioning when interventions are necessary. 

• Moaning and Moving: Evidence based healthy birth practices, from vocalizations to opening the pelvic floor
From understanding the sounds and positions we turn to during labor to release tension, families can benefit from creating body memories of what empowered birth may sound and feel like. 

• The Landscape of Labor: Understanding the emotional and physiological process of birthing your baby
In addition to myth-busting the textbook stages of labor,  we will have a fuller conversation about the non-linear landscape of labor,  how to support birth as it unfolds, and tools for working with each valley, peak and summit, from a physiological, emotional, and logistical viewpoint. 

• The Role of the Partner: Creating Safety
Partner support is a central focus of class. Birth partners (life partners, family member or trusted friend) will learn how to intuit the woman's needs, engage in the experience, and create an environment that feels safe, protected and conducive to birthing. We will review verbal and non-verbal communication skills, birth room etiquette, and the art of observing birth.  

• Being in Birth: Massage, Acupressure, Positions, Vocalizations, and Breathing Techniques
We will review the art of touch, breath and saying yes to birth. Partners will have a chance to hold, massage and practice pressure points that will assist in getting labor going naturally while creating counter pressure along the hips. 

• Advocacy and Collaboration: Positive Communication Skills with Providers
Class participants will walk away with the terms and phrases most used in the birth room so that they can have informed conversations with their providers. We will review strategies for collaboration, advocacy and informed consent. 

• Understanding Interventions
Most people can agree that safety is paramount to birth, and that the mother's experience is not separate from healthy outcomes but rather an integral aspect to mental and physical health during the childbearing years. We will review common interventions through an evidence based care perspective. By linking our conversation around advocacy and collaboration with providers,  we start to answer questions around necessity of interventions. We will build a toolkit  for decreasing unnecessary interventions, increasing vaginal birth outcomes, and avoiding cesareans. In addition, we will review tools for maximizing positive outcomes when interventions are necessary and review natural counterparts, as well as protecting the micro biome and the breastfeeding relationship. 

• Watching, Hearing, Knowing: Empowered Birth Videos
We will watch uncensored videos of families having empowered births. 

• After-Birth
We will review the sacred hours after birth and discuss how our choices during birth impact breastfeeding, your infant’s immune system, mother’s recovery, mental health, and hormonal balance. We will review common interventions and support offered after birth. 

Each class is kept to seven couples or less, as this allows for individual and hands-on attention from the instructor while allowing for community building with other expanding families. We encourage participants to bring meals, pillows, snacks and other items that will allow them to get comfortable and relax.

This one-day workshop includes an hour lunch break and lots of movement. Please wear clothing that allows for squatting and access to the lower back for massage practice.


About the Instructor:  Kelly Gray

Kelly is a mother, educator and community organizer.  When she’s not sitting on a birth ball with a model pelvis in her hand, she’s creating forums to raise awareness and expand access to birthing options in Sonoma County. Kelly has been teaching her popular Holistic Childbirth Prep Workshop for over seven years in the North Bay and Bay Area, and spent several years attending low risk and high risk births in San Francisco, and spent three years as a manager of a birth center in the North Bay running their community education center. She has curated an on-going column about reproductive experiences in SQUAT Birth Journal and has been included in the anthology Birth Work As Care Work.

Kelly's focus on hormones and the mind~body connection, building intimacy between partners, and evidence based care sets her teaching apart from the standard birth class; participants leave feeling excited and confident about birthing their family.  Kelly is passionate about providing  up-to-date information and insights into birth research, support measures, community resources, communicating collaboratively with your providers, and all the powerful dynamics parents face as their children enter this world. Kelly sees the work that she does in helping women and families have empowered births as one part of a life long love letter she is writing to her daughter.