Affordable private school or charters with less strict schedule

Hello all,

I’m going through the OUSD kindergarten sign-ups and I noticed that the public schools have very little recess time.  I’m not sure if this is even an option, but are there any programs with a bit more free-play/outside time?  My son is bright but also very hyper/energetic and I want to give him a program that teaches school fundamentals for first grade but that also allows for extra energy burn off. 

Thanks for any suggestions!



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“Recess” is just one kind of down time. My experience with our OUSD kindergarten was that it was basically all free time after lunch, although a mixture of inside and outside. The teachers had tons of bins of legos, trains, blocks, etc., that were used for small group or partner play. The kindergarten teachers said that in their experience, there wasn’t much capacity for academic work after lunch.

Don't worry too much about the formal schedule. Anyone who teaches five-year-olds for a living knows that you don't need to wait for official recess time to burn off some energy. Hopefully a kindergarten teacher joins the info sessions that you're participating in and will tell you that, too.

This won’t help your Kinder, but I recommend taking a look at Pacific Boychoir Academy’s day school when your son is in 2nd grade. We were in OUSD K-2 and made the jump to private school for 3rd grade. The school “gets” boys and caters to their unique needs, which includes ample recess time but also meditation and mindfulness. And of course a world class music education too. Tuition is manageable, unlike many private schools in the area. 

Grand lake Montessori or Mills College School. Both are about significantly cheaper than other private schools. We looked into both but with Covid, we are using that money for tutors and extracurricular activities. 

Have you considered Walden Center & School? It's a small, independent school located in Berkeley near the corner of Dwight and MLK. I live in Oakland, but both of my children attend Walden, and we have had a really great experience there. One of the first things my son said when he started school there three years ago was, "We have so much outside time!"  It's run by teacher collective, and it primarily relies on parents to volunteer for cleaning, landscaping, and general upkeep, which not only allows parents to become personally invested in the school, but also keeps tuition costs down. I find that tuition at Walden is considerably more affordable than other private schools in the area. Walden also offers financial aid for those families who need it. Walden is offering an information session and several virtual tours in January 2021, so you should check it out. One of my children is currently in Kindergarten, so I would also be happy to answer any specific questions you may have about the Kindergarten experience at Walden.