JCC (Berkeley) afterschool program

Hi, I'm looking for recent parent reviews and descriptions of the Berkeley JCC afterschool program.  I see some older very positive reviews, but no recent ones.  I'm curious to know (1) how the program is for young students -- e.g. Kinder students, (2) are the kids in separate "classes" or all mixed together, (3) what "enrichment" activities are available, (4) do kids / parents like it -- how is the JCC staff, and do you get any feedback on how your kid is doing?, (5) how is the BUSD bussing to the program? 

Thanks for any info you can provide!

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Hello, I see that no one has responded so I will try to give you at least some answers to your questions.

1) & 2) my kiddo likes the kinder program very much.  He has made good friends and seem to really enjoy himself.  All the kinders are in the "yellow" group with their own teachers.  (The kinders from all the different BUSD schools are in the same group as far as I can tell.)  At the beginning there was very little mixing with the older grades because of COVID, but I think there is now a little more relaxation re mixing.  For example the kinders will sometimes be together with the 1st graders.

3) The enrichment is still a little sparse as compared to previous years (at least based on what I have heard re previous years).  Kids are able to take classes like cooking, "mindful gems," Yoga, etc., but these are all taught by JCC staff (no outside providers coming in).  My kiddo has liked the classes he has taken.  He has also learned to play games like chess, mancala etc. which has been fun for us as well.

4) My kid likes it a lot, and I know kids who have joined from the BUSD afterschool program (LEARNS etc.) so I think at least some parents like the JCC program better.  I was slightly ambivalent at the very beginning -- I think I was expecting more of the preschool experience where I was getting tons of pictures daily re what my kiddo was doing etc.  Here, unless there is a problem, the parents usually get a weekly update.  Also at the beginning before the program really gained steam I felt like my kiddo was coming home with a lot of coloring pages and Perler bead works.  The program has grown on me a lot though through this year -- I feel the staff is very caring and responsive, and my kiddo seems to be doing a lot more interesting things.  I chuck the slightly rocky beginning up to everyone trying to work around/getting used to COVID....

5) re BUSD bussing.  Basically, it's super easy.  The busses pick up at the school and drop off at the JCC, where someone at the JCC signs the kids in.  My kinder has not had any issues with busses for the whole year, with the exception noted below.  Also, the kinders get their own little bus except for Wednesday (early release day for the whole school, which my kiddo calls "Wacky Wednesday" because he has to ride the big bus with all the kids including the "big" kids), which is really nice.  

I am not sure how much the pandemic will continue to affect things next academic year, but there was at least a week or so this year where the busses were not operating because so many drivers were out with COVID that they couldn't find enough people to do the routes.  So for that week people had to do their own drop off at the JCC.  Also, doing LEARNS/BEARS might conceivably limit your kid's potential COVID exposure a little bit more, because you are doing after school activities with the kids you are already exposed to in school.  Finally, I don't think this situation will arise next year because COVID exposure procedures for vaccinated kids have relaxed so much everywhere, but for a period of time a COVID exposure in kindergarten meant my kiddo would not be able to go to JCC afterschool without a negative PCR test, whereas people doing BEARS/LEARNS could still go (because of BUSD's test to stay program).

Hope this helps.