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Meet Linda Shannon of Riviera PlaySchool in Redondo Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Linda Shannon.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Linda. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I waited a very long time to be blessed with a child. The process of motherhood was transformational; by traveling through it, I was able to rediscover what I had left behind in my youth: the inherent magic in life.

The wonders of childhood and the endless possibilities of life were reawakened in me. My son was my twin flame! My creative energy blossomed, I wanted to shout it from the mountain tops like Julie Andrews…   I wore dirndl dresses and Birkenstocks, and burned my bra and pantyhose!  I was alive again!  I  squeezed every possible moment out of my extended maternity leave, until my reckoning day came face to face with me.  I had to return to my office job.  But by that point my son and I were inseparable.  I was unrelenting in my childcare quest.  I toured every available option within 15 miles.  Not one felt right. I found only 2 choices: indoor, sterile & fluorescent, or indoor grimy and dark.  Where were the outdoor play spaces of my childhood?  Where was the dirt, mud,  sticks  and stones?

I was discouraged and worried. I was not going to turn my precious child over to some stranger to raise. I carried my little bundle of boyhood down the street to the neighborhood daycare lady. I knocked, and she quickly opened the door.  I immediately began to cry (the gurgling snot kind).  She answered my unspoken question: “Why don’t you open your own daycare?  You can raise your child and even give him playmates, in his own house.”

It was 2004. The idea for Riviera PlaySchool was born.

I believe that every neighborhood needs a play space like PlaySchool.   I have raised my kids with a ‘family’ of like-hearted friends, and provided myself with a village in the process.  I have been lucky to have had the benefit of sharing this journey with many awake and compassionate people who made Riviera PlaySchool an important part of their life.  These beautiful people became emissaries for this compassionate way of being in the world, and became heart-centered friends.  We continue to carry each other through this journey.  My kids and I are self-confident and securely attached as a result.

Over the years, I have helped start several other like-hearted schools, and trained many teachers who moved on to spread this compassionate, authentic way of being all around the world.  I am dedicated to helping parents have the freedom to enjoy their children while their children are young. I love helping parents realize their dream of raising their own child, and create the village they need!  What better way than with a child care business?  Feel free to call me with questions.

And my adventures continue.  Earlier this year, my children and I graduated from Riviera PlaySchool.   I am currently in the final stages of publishing my first picture book “My Mommy, My Chair,” due out in November, and available worldwide on Amazon.  Kid-tested in front of live audiences, “My Mommy, My Chair” keeps everyone laughing!  Kids and parents will find themselves in the pages, cracking up alongside this familiar story and become more accepting of the highs and lows of the often wild adventure of raising children!  I was at my wit’s end, often lost in the forest of lofty parenting ideals that I wanted to embrace.  I felt alone until I encountered other moms who were stumbling through the same challenges.  I twisted a little more each day to allow my children to be fully expressed in the world.  I was everything for my children: one moment their chair, the next their taxi, and then their bed…  I soon become an emotional pretzel. This book helped me unwind back to myself. You can get your limited edition here:

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I remember my childhood in excruciating detail.  It was perfect for me in every way, AND I wanted something different for my own child.  My idea for PlaySchool, or the mud school, as many people affectionately call it, was met with a lot of resistance in the beginning.  Not many people seemed to share the vision I had for a place where kids could play freely and take risks.  I had to be my own cheer leading squad for many years.

There were many many obstacles in starting the school, and then as the years progressed, in allowing it to blossom.  Similar to parenting a child, the birth of my school was a process of letting go.  The biggest challenge I faced was in bumping up against myself as I navigated the world as a mother.  The challenge of  figuring out all of my own rules, and finding a new way to be in the world: a really simple way to be compassionate with myself and my kids.

As Riviera PlaySchool was beginning to come to its end, this next part of my journey began, and led me down the path of authorship, where I get to express myself in a different way.  My first book is really a concise compilation of all of those rules and ways of being that congealed into my own grail during the PlaySchool years.

The single most important thing I was able to accomplish with the years I devoted to PlaySchool was to get comfortable following my desires, fearlessly, and playfully.

Riviera PlaySchool – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Riviera PlaySchool is a true metaphor for my life.  At PlaySchool, the activities were child-directed and emergent. I want to live my days like that. In fact, I love to draw, and if I could have my choice of how I could have conducted this interview, my answers would have been in pictures.  Everyone should play, every day.  If everyone pursued their avocation as a vocation, could you imagine how the world would be?  Jean Liedloff examined this edenic idea in her ovaric work “The Continuum Concept.”

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I want to do what I want to do, and I want to feel good about it.  I want to expand that ‘kid’ part of my brain and play everyday!  And move through the world without being afraid, taking it in baby steps, one moment at a time, and savoring every little bit, and in the process perhaps, even if it by accident, help the world become a better place.

You can find me now on my next project, at: or


  • $20 for a Limited Edition of “My Mommy, My Chair.”

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Alice Kuo Shippee

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