Oakland Head Start system? What is it like?

Hello,

Is anyone familiar with the head start program in Oakland?

I would like to know what it’s like, hours (can you do all day or add after school?), whether teachers communicate at drop off/pick up, whether you felt your child was happy and making friends or anything else you wanna share about your child’s experience.

I would be interested in anyone’s head start experience in the city of Oakland. 

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I had my son in Manzanita CDC in 2019-2020 school year for the full tuition option  of $540/month for the half day program, 8:30-11:30am. He had a great time there and really learned a lot. He made friends and his teachers were great. The class was pretty small, maybe 13 kids, with one main teacher and one assistant, which I was very pleased with. However, there wasn’t a ton of communication regarding his progress at drop off or pickup, but I was fine with it considering it’s only preschool. He would come home with lots of stories and projects that he did, which gave me a good idea about what he was doing and how he was progressing. It was a super diverse class, which I loved.

More recently, my younger son is going to Laurel CDC (he’s almost 4). He started when they began offering in person class time in April. He’s also on the part time program and he loves it here too. There’s only 5 kids in his class (due to covid, I think) and one main teacher and an assistant. He tells me “it’s a playing school!” That pretty much tells me that they’re focus is less on academics and more play-based, but I think that may be because they are shifting away from using Scholastic’s Big Day Pre-K program and because they started mid year. The teachers there are really great, and they do seem more organized at Laurel vs Manzanita. For instance, I get emailed various things from his teacher, which never happened at Manzanita. She sends pictures and they go on walking field trips around the neighborhood and to the local park. It’s pretty amazing! My son comes home nearly every day with a cute project he did at school and he’s really thriving there. However, next school year he’ll be going to Manzanita CDC instead of returning to Laurel because my older son will be in 1st grade at Manzanita SEED so I’m just trying to make drop-off/pickup easier on myself. 
 

given my experience with both preschools, it seems like some may be better than others, but I’ve been really happy with both choices. I imagine it’s just like attending different elementary schools within OUSD, some are just better than others. 

As for after school care, I don’t believe they provide that, but I’ve never inquired about it since I don’t need it. If you have more questions, you can DM me if you’d like. Happy to chat further.