City of Berkeley After-School Programs

Parent Q&A

  • My husband got a new full-time job (hooray!), which means that we have a sudden need for afterschool care for our kids. Anyone know of an under-the-radar afterschool program that might have space available for two days a week, from May until the end of the school year? My kids are in grades K & 5 at Cragmont in Berkeley (where the LEARNS program for kindergarteners is full). Or, if you know of a good place to post a listing for a part-time babysitter (like at Cal or other nearby colleges), we might end up going that route. Thanks!

    I think there might be some openings at Frances Albrier, run by the city of Berkeley, in San Pablo Park. The school bus will bring them there from Cragmont. Call Berkeley Rec Dept to find out, or just stop by after school one day. connected us with the afterschool babysitter we're using for my Kindergartener. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


City of Berkeley After-School Programs?

April 2012

Planning ahead for the fall...does anyone have recent experience with any of the City of Berkeley After-School Programs, preferably the one at Willard? Looking for updated info from what has been archived here on BPN. Thanks. Working Parent

The after school programs in berkeley are, i think, run by contractors of the berkeley unified school district, and are not official city of berkeley programs. So you may have better luck searching on line on the BUSD web site. At King Middle school my kid likes the afterschool program and it costs $100 a month. A good deal for us. Anonymous

Hello, I beleive the city of Berkeley after-school programs, which are offered off -site are run by the city emnployees. There is transportation provided from the elementary schools to the programs. Here is a link to the after-school program listing in the City of Berkeley Program guide, As for the on-site programs, here is a link to Berkeley LEARNS; You may also want to check out the school's website. I hope this was helpful. Thousand Oaks and James Kenney After School Parent

City of Berkeley Afterschool Program


Afterschool programs in Berkeley. There are in fact more options than the YMCA Kids club and the Extended Day Care (EDC) offered through the BUSD. By the way, EDC is not free, rather one pays for it on a sliding scale. It can range from $50 a month to $300 or more. Another program to check into is the city parks.

I actually hesitate to write about this because it is such a fantastic deal that I'm sure they would be swamped if more people knew about it. The cost is, get this, $20 a month. Basically several of the City of Berkeley Parks, Live Oak, Frances Albrier, Willard, (others?) have community buildings and a big park to work with. They have teachers, many of them part time college students, of good quality, with a good ratio of kids/teachers. Usually your kid can ride a bus from their school to this program. How, you may ask, can one get one's kid into such a good, inexpensive program? The way it works at Willard is that sign up is on a designated Saturday or Monday. Sign ups on Saturday, say, start at 10 am, but people get there earlier and start a list, which we then follow when they actually open for registration. How early? Last August the first person got there at 3:20 am. I got there at 5:45 am, and made it first on the waiting list. Thus the program preselects people who have their act together enough to get there in the middle of the night and wait it out, a high level of commitment. It works pretty well, but we were all joking in August about pitching tents and staying in the park overnight (which is in fact against the law). But enough about this fabulous program. The Jewish Community Center also has a good program (probably at YMCA prices, though), and I'm sure there are many others. Good luck. Dianna

All of the Berkeley elementary schools offer various after-school programs for grades K- 5. Some of them are offered on-site at the school, for others the kids are bussed to another location. I found it a bit confusing trying to sort through all the options. Ultimately, we enrolled our five-year-old in "Kids Club," an after-school program run by the Berkeley-Albany YMCA, but offered on-site at the school she will be attending. It's not necessarily cheap. I think it ends up being about $550/month for kindergartners (the most expensive group, because they only go to school 1/2 day, so there are more hours of after-school care). However, we signed up months ago for "Kids Club." I'm not sure if there is still space available. I would think the Berkeley Unified School District Office would be able to tell you about options available at the particular school your child will be going to. Colleen

I'm glad that at least one parent has had such a good experience with the City of Berkeley's afterschool program (at Willard), but here's another view... My experience with the program at Live Oak Park is that while this program is almost free, it may be one of those cases in which you get what you pay for. My kids, who are not exactly sheltered prudes, found it pretty rough -- many of the kids in the program appear to come from families where it is acceptable to use rude, insulting and/or vulgar language and to tease and sometimes threaten others, and that behavior is pretty much unchecked (unobserved?) by program staff. The staff-to-child ratio is not great, and they often resort to dumping the kids in front of a TV. On occasion they have botched even this, and shown something PG-13 by mistake. On most days there is a room (sometimes quiet, sometimes not) to do homework in, but there's little staff or peer support for kids who choose to use it, and very few kids do.

In terms of getting in, if you have an extraordinarily focussed or resilient kid: I showed up at 5:30AM on the designated day and was 10th or 15th in line; some parents *did* spend the night in the park to be first in line. The registration process is phenomenally slow, inefficient and frustrating, so no matter what time you come, it's going to take you 6 or so hours in line. Bring a *thick* book.

I just had to put my two cents in after reading about the Berkeley Park's after school programs.

I used to bring my little one to Live Oak Park to play in the tot lot there. I was astounded at the low quality of the after-school 'program' going on around me. Unsupervised children running everywhere, NO adult guidance once they were outside, just a whirlwind of chaos. Seriously, half of the children could walk off the park grounds and it would never be noticed until the end of the day. I only saw one adult even relating to the children and he was always yelling. He didn't speak - he yelled. Every sentence.

I always wanted to slip notes into the pockets of all the children telling their parents to get them out of that program. Marian