BUSD elementary afterschool programs

We're parents of an elementary student entering BUSD, and wondering if anyone can offer insight into the BUSD afterschool programs.  I know options and availability vary based on school site, and we are aware of BEARS and LEARNS.  Specifically, wondering what students do in LEARNS in the afternoon? Are there enrichment programs to sign up for? Is it pretty unstructured and how do younger students handle that? Overall, have you been happy with your afterschool program? We both work full time and are a little apprehensive of having our child in afterschool program for 3 or 4 hours each afternoon, so we're considering reducing our work hours or considering finding a nanny for afterschool (though both options of course come with tradeoffs).  Any insights into how other families have navigated this for young elementary school students would be great. 

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I can't speak to BUSD's afterschool program since my kiddo didn't go to it, but just want to mention there are alternative programs -- JCC, New School, etc.  (BUSD busses do drop offs at those locations so you would not need to pick up from the elementary school.)  They are more expensive but perhaps look into those as well if you find you don't like LEARNS/BEARS. 

I can speak to this year’s experience at Oxford Elementary. We have a kindergartener who does LEARNS 4-5 times per week and they love it. It has allowed our child to bond deeply with classmates across the two kinder classes as well as with students in different grades, creating a really solid foundation and sense of belonging for them as they have navigated the transition from preschool to elementary school. LEARNS offers daily art projects, snacks, and lots of outside time. I am not sure if enrichment classes are offered in non-pandemic times, but we’ll be returning next year for sure. A huge shout out to the staff at Oxford LEARNS!

Our sons did Learns at two different school - Sylvia Mendez and Malcolm X, both when they were in TK. We're very disappointed Learns doesn't operate at their current school, John Muir (and I truly don't understand why). Learns is affordable, they meet kids from same/adjacent grades, and flexible. Our kids do snack, worksheets, play games, get free time outside, and occasionally do crafts or watch movies (especially on rainy days). Pre-Covid, at Sylvia Mendez they offered Soccer Shots on campus once or twice a week for a couple months, as well as a few other programs that we were always too late to sign up for. That isn't happening at Malcolm X this year, so it seems to vary by school (and/or be impact by Covid). We're thrilled it's one location, teachers seem happy and energetic, and snack is provided. Kids come home tired but in a happy way, and again, get more time with their friends and in their school community. I like the relative flexibility/lack of structure combined with good safety and oversight (compared to programs at public parks). It's a huge benefit in comparison to having no after school care, where we're juggling after school activities, various family members picking up, etc.

My first grader attends LEARNS at BAM and loves it. During the short period that school was in person last year (her kindergarten year), she attended LEARNS one day per week. The first two days felt "too long," but after that, she loved it and asked to be picked up "as late as possible." There is structured time for the kids to read (all grades are expected to read every day) and to do homework, and then the kids have unstructured play time. Sometimes there are organized games, but my kid likes just playing with her friends. Pre-pandemic, there were enrichment classes, and I expect they will start back up again in the 22-23 school year. Some kids really like the unstructured play time while others like the structure of the enrichment classes.

Hi! Our school (Ruth Acty) put after school enrichment programs on hold during covid and focus seems to be getting RAZ (after school care) back up to pre covid staffing and enrollment. With Crowden right next door and Girls on the Run down the street at Ohlone Park, we have good options for extra curricular. For my kids, they just want to play at the end of the day! The after school team runs a homework club and then has games and art activities going on which is great. After a long day in school, I appreciate the unstructured time. Even when we had after school programming (cooking class, yoga), my kids sometimes asked to skip it so the could simply play and be with their friends.