Afterschool in Berkeley - waitlisted galore, seeking alternatives

Our kiddo (4.5yo, TK) did not get into the after school program at Emerson. We are waitlisted, and have since gamely joined other waitlists (city of berkeley @Willard and @San Pablo Park, BUSD @Malcolm X and @John Muir, JCC, and soon to include John Muir's Kids in motion), which may or may not pan out.

We can't bet on a place opening up, so I think we have to plan for alternative care.

General setup: I'm thinking it's 3-4 kids in the same situation, looked after by 1-2 college students (maybe grad student(s), or someone pursuing a teaching credential), from 1:30p-4:30p on school days.

Transportation: Our house could host, but we're not walkable from the school. We could outfit a car with 3 low profile booster seats and have the person watching them pick them up in that, but I would also be interested in the possibility of the kiddos bussing on existing busses that serve the after school programs from Emerson to a closer location (John Muir for us, or maybe Willard for another family). But maybe they wouldn't let kids not enrolled in the formal after school programs go on those busses?

Location: the kiddos and their minder(s) could go regularly to smaller parks (e.g., bateman) or to parks where there is a formal program, but I assume they'd need a regular home base at one of the children's homes, particularly during the winter/rainy season. I suppose this would be a situation where we'd have to put some boundaries in place to give the kids enough room and space to do their thing while allowing any WFH parents to actually work from home.

I assume if/when one of the families gets a place in a formal after school program they would drop from the 'aftershare'.

Lots of the related guidance I can find here on BPN pertains to which programs to apply to, and where to waitlist, but I'm looking to learn from parents who have experienced this (ridiculous) situation before and coordinated an alternative.

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My daughter is an incoming kindergarten student at Emerson and we're in a similar boat.  If there is still space, I recommend checking out kids in motion which is at John Muir.  The kids get bussed from Emerson to John Muir.  I haven't been able to get numbers from the people running LEARNS but it seems like a lot of parents are in the same boat.  We just found out at the end of July that we didn't get in off the waitlist and I expressed my disappointment at finding out basically 2.5 weeks before school starts.

With regards to the buses thing you mentioned, I highly doubt BUSD would go for that.  I imagine there is too much liability in play for them to keep track of kids not part of the program that were being picked up by a non parent. Keep in mind, registration for after school programs is done on a month to month basis so you may get a spot in a subsequent month. Feel free to message me here if I can be of help.


We're in a different but similar situation - we just moved from Oakland (another land of terrible waitlists) to Berkeley in July and am shocked to hear how long the waitlists are (and that they roll over year after year after we're f**cked). We also need a back-up, I was thinking this same idea but I think location is key - we're in SW Berkeley, about 4 blocks South of San Pablo Park, but our kid is headed to Washington (5.5yrs, incoming Kindergarten). We both WFH, I go in 1-2x month and we have a pretty small house, but my hope is to set up it for kids - we're still moving tho.

Anyway - please share any info you get! I'm also scrambling and will be looking for alternative ideas/aftercare.


We are in the same boat and falsely assumed once you were in LEARNS you got rolled over year over year.  So here we are with no afterschool care.  Your idea would work if kid is already on the bus and on the same route. Then one person could pick them all up from the bus stop. Wish we lived in the same region (we are at Washington) and would join up in a heartbeat.  I am thinking to try ask parents at the bus stop to gauge interest on an afternoon nanny share. 

Hi Valerie my son just started at Washington as well new to the district. I am a nurse and my husband works out of state right now. We are waitlisted for before/afterschool as well. It has been a hassel getting him to school and finding places for him after till i am off. I want him to be with kids after and not alone. But literally working off steam and a prayer at this point. Would love to tag team and brainstorm to see if we could come up with something. Taking all suggestions and recommendations.