figuring out last minute afterschool care (+ baby)

Hello all -

We are moving to Berkeley on August 1.  We have a rental set up in Berkeley proper, and I'll register our 4.5 year old for TK the moment we arrive, but I'm really concerned about finding care for him and for our baby.  We need full time care for the first two weeks of August for him, before he starts TK, and then he needs after school care.  Will the after school programs likely be full at that point?  Any advice on how to handle this?

Thanks all!


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If you can swing it I’d highly recommend private preschool or daycare until you can register for Kinder. There are many excellent preschools in Berkeley. 

Hi Nora,

The school programs are likely full by now. I would recommend looking at private options at this point. Also, TKs in the area have reportedly become filled up already, so it’s worth contacting the district to see how late registration will work. We were impacted and are attending a school 14 minutes from home as a result. 

Good Luck!

Hi, welcome to Berkeley.

First question is, are you able to register the 4.5 year-old for TK using your new address yet (eg before the June 23 date)? It may be helpful to nail things down sooner as opposed to the ongoing enrollment window that goes til the end of the summer. But you will likely need multiple forms of proving your address, like bills / insurance, which you might not have yet. There are a few steps to TK registration, involving first submitting proof of residency, then you get a placement into a TK that has availability still, then you'll be required to send in a recent physician form and dentist form for the child, and finally a registration packet is required (easiest to pick up at the school rather than wait for an email which may never come).  email).

For after care at the school (BEARS / LEARNS), it may be full but you could call and see if it is full now for next year: 

JCC is a popular after school program located in north berkeley - they bus or walk from the berkeley elementary schools. they are filling up but you could apply now:

I'm not sure what your care plan is for your baby, but one idea if you were going the nanny route would be to find a nanny who would take your 4.5 year-old for the first two weeks before school starts and then is just dedicated to your baby. A different option for after care is to find a nanny who not only watches your baby but picks up your big kid from school and does the after school component. 

Good luck!

The at-school aftercare programs (LEARNS and BEARS) get full quickly, and you can't sign up for them until you enroll at school, and you won't know which school you'll be enrolling at until basically the start of school. Are you sure you don't have enough proof of address to register now?

The other thing to do is sign up to the City of Berkeley Recreation department site. The city also runs after school programs at a few of its parks, and they DO take TK-ers (says kindergarten - 5th on the registration site) and they can bus between certain schools and certain parks. But, again, if you don't know which school you'll be at, it'll be hard to know which to sign up for. If you already have a rental address, you at least know which zone your school will be in, so you can pick a park program in that zone- it's more likely they'll bus from those zone's schools. These are also busy, but maybe not quite as oversubscribed as the at-school programs.

The city also runs summer day camps. You can try to sign up for one of those for the first week or so of August before school starts, but I don't know if they do full day camps for under 5's.

Public school has to take your kid for TK no matter when you register so you don't need to look for private options! But you are likely to have trouble finding aftercare, unfortunately. My recommendation would be to get on waitlists now for all of the programs you can (I think you can get on the LEARNS--that's the on-site program--waitlists for more than one school) and hope that one works out. The city programs tend to be a little easier to get into - our kid has gone to one for two years and he loves it. If not, you can hire a babysitter/nanny until you find something. Since you also have a baby, you could find someone who watches your baby in the morning and then both kids in the afternoon - maybe even set up a nanny share with another baby in the morning, since a solo nanny is super expensive.

For the first two weeks, there are some camps that take 4-year-olds: our kid liked Camp Doodles and EBI when he was younger, there's also Head over Heels, Steve & Kate's, Abundant Beginnings, and I'm sure a few more - do a search here or 510families for camps that take younger kids.