The Mother Company: Show Biz Moms on a Kid-Saving Mission

Mar 25, 2011
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.
Ruby and the kids from the Mother Company's 'Ruby's Studio.' (Photo: Darcy Hemley)

Two moms, former ABC exec Abbie Schiller and director/producer Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, started The Mother Company with hopes of giving kids a new kind of entertainment focused on social and emotional learning.

When Abbie's daughter was starting preschool, Abbie says, "There was a lack of relevant children's media that could help me teach her the lessons I was so desperately trying to teach her. Things like how to make a friend."

Kids at that age, Abbie says, are "grappling with emotions which are completely new sensations for them." Her daughter, for example, "really needed to understand how to verbalize her emotions so that her behavior didn't result in tantrums or crying."

Inspired by Mary Poppins, Abbie created a modern-day character named Ruby. The first episode of Ruby's Studio is titled "The Feelings Show."

When Abbie presented Samantha with the idea, Samantha immediately wanted in.

The two developed the show, and brought it out on DVD in October. Books, iPhone apps and handmade dolls are on the way.

Samantha says parents have been very happy with the product.

One mom in Indiana told Samantha that her son "had all these tantrums and never really talked about his feelings. Then he watched the show, and all day long he was saying 'Mama, I feel frustrated.' " Ruby's Studio gave him that language, the mother said.

Moms with kids on the autism spectrum are finding the DVD helpful, Abbie says, "because of its gentle pacing, and we do a whole segment on facial and emotional recognition."

More Ruby's Studio DVDs will be coming out in the near future. For all you parents out there, here's a peek at Ruby's Studio: "The Feelings Show."

The Mother Company website augments its offerings for kids with thoughtful and helpful essays for parents. With titles like "Admit It: Parents Pick Favorites," "Developing Your Kid's Brain," "No Tech Time," "So Stressed So Young" and "Help! My Kid Is a Brat," these inclusive and encouraging pieces appear to come from first-hand wisdom, and a disire to share it.

The Mother Company—if you're a parent, is a business worth looking into.

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