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Rethinking "Normal" in Child Development

A strong advocate for true inclusion and neurodiversity in schools, Kelsie Olds shares their expertise on therapy methods and the importance of children developing key skills — sensory, core strength, and fine motor — before diving into academics.

Welcome to Teacher Tom’s Podcast, which is all about taking play seriously. In each episode, Teacher Tom inspires early childhood educators, parents, and other listeners with information, techniques, and best practices to provide children an authentic play-filled childhood.

Kelsie Olds is an occupational therapist best known online as “The Occuplaytional Therapist.”

“The push for inclusion in schools is a magnificently, societally important counterbalance to prior strategies of: Take all the kids with any problems and ship them off to a facility and never see them again.” — Kelsie Olds

Kelsie Olds, “The Occuplaytional Therapist,” shares passionately every day online with thousands of parents, teachers, and professionals — adults simply seeking to heal childhood wounds in their own selves — about the healing and power in play as the core meaningful occupation that underlies childhood. Kelsie works as an occupational therapist on an Air Force Base in England, which gives them a unique perspective on both the US and UK systems of healthcare and education that intersect and affect the children they work with every day.

“Teacher Tom” Hobson is an early childhood educator, international speaker, education consultant, teacher of teachers, parent educator, and author. He is best known, however, for his namesake blog, Teacher Tom’s Blog, where he has posted daily for over a decade, chronicling the life and times of his little preschool in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest corner of the USA.

For nearly two decades, Teacher Tom was the sole employee of the Woodland Park Cooperative School, a parent-owned and operated school knit together by Teacher Tom’s democratic, progressive play-based pedagogy. Teacher Tom came into teaching through the backdoor, so to speak, having enrolled his own child in a cooperative preschool, where he began working daily in his daughter’s classroom as an assistant teacher under the tutelage of veteran educators — although he’ll be the first to tell you that most of what he learned came from the children themselves. When it was time for his daughter to move on, he “stayed behind.”

Today, Teacher Tom shares his play-based pedagogy through online e-courses for early childhood educators; produces online early childhood conferences; consults with organizations about his “Family Schools” program; and inspires early-years audiences around the world (Greece, UK, Iceland, Australia, China, Vietnam, New Zealand, Canada, and across the US) both virtually and in-person with his engaging views on early childhood education, play, and pedagogy.

He was pressured by his blog readers into authoring his first book, aptly named Teacher Tom’s First Book, and is thrilled about the 2023 release of Teacher Tom’s Second Book.

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Teacher Tom’s website:
Kelsie’s website:
Kelsie’s Facebook page:
Kelsie’s Instagram:
The book Tom mentions: Patrick House – Nineteen Ways of Looking At Consciousness


Host: Teacher Tom Hobson
Producer: Michi Lantz
Supervising Producer: Cynthia Lamb
Audio Editor: Marvin del Rosario
Executive Producer: Danny Iny
Music Soundscape: Chad Michael Snavely
Making our hosts sound great: Home Brew Audio


Music credits:
Track Title: Blueberry Jam Jam
Artist: Simen Andreas
Writer: Simen Knudsen


Track Title: Childlike Wonder
Artist: Reveille
Writer: Brendan St. Gelais


Track Title: Tick Tock
Artist: Ivy Bakes
Writer: Erick Pena


Special effects credits:
24990513_birds-chirping_by_promission used with permission of the author and under license by AudioJungle/Envato Market.

To catch the great episodes coming up on Teacher Tom’s Podcast, please follow us on Mirasee FM’s YouTube channel or your favorite podcast player. And if you enjoyed the show, please leave us a comment or a starred review. It’s the best way to help us get these ideas to more people.

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