Haste Street Child Development Center - UC Berkeley
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Am interested in hearing anyone's recent experience with the Haste Street Child Development Center affiliated with UC Berkeley. We are still on the waiting list but since spaces may become available soon wanted to get input from current or recent parents. Thank you in advance! Anon
You may wish to join the Facebook group for Berkeley ECEP to get more information about Haste. My child has been at ECEP since 2009 (but not at Haste) and I'm getting ready to send the next one through. We've been happy with the program (other than the cost) but in 2012 there were some blow-ups with the overall ECEP management (we have interim directors now; Berkeley administration was looking to outsource management of the entire program, but thankfully the parents fought that change off) but some problems with Haste specifically related to licensing violations. This doesn't mean that there aren't many people happy with their kids' experiences at Haste, but if you want more responses you may wish to ask questions to the Facebook group where you will definitely find some Haste parents subscribed. - Overall Happy with ECEP
We have had children at Haste for almost five years. We have been mostly very happy with our children's experiences (we have had two kids there). For us, our positive experience has been because of the amazing teachers my kids have been lucky enough to have. My biggest piece of advice is to research the specific teachers for your child's room. It makes all the difference - and since the teachers stay with the kids for three years, it is essential that you are happy with the teachers. The administration was often difficult for us to negotiate, but that is a non-issue if you are happy with the teachers. Happy at Haste
We're new parents with an almost-two-month old, about to face decisions about whether to enroll our daughter in full-time daycare this August, when she will be 8 months old. We still don't know whether/where we will be offered spots, but we are leaning towards one of the UC centers -- Clark Kerr or Haste Street. However, we are also open to other options near the UCcampus, including hiring a nanny (probably less than full-time given cost) or joining a nanny-share. We're thus trying to decide whether to go with a UC center or not, and if so (if we have a choice!), whether to choose Clark Kerr or Haste St.
We would love to hear from anyone with positive or negative experiences with either of the UC infant centers, including the relative merits of Clark Kerr versus Haste St. For those who considered but opted *not* to enroll an infant there, what did you choose instead? Why, and are you happy with your decision? Thank you in advance for any advice! UC parents
We have two daughters at the Haste Street center, one in preschool (started at 11 months), the other in an infant room (started at 5 months, has been there for a year). I can recommend the center without any hesitation. In fact, our younger daughter was too young to start in the fall and we had a nanny, but when an opening became available mid-year we moved her to the center. The positives are: Landi, the site coordinator is great; most of the teachers are really good; it is run well (procedures for how to deal with everything, schedule for food, diapers etc. in the classroom, issues like biting kids taken very seriously); I like the philosophy (play-based but still they teach things like songs, the alphabet, do little science experiments, etc.); they provide full meals (believe me, it is a great relief not to have to make lunch); the other families have been great; our daughters are happy and have bonded with their teachers; the student assistants (undergrads at UC) have been great, they provide extra help in the room during busy hours and we have gotten to know some of them well and they babysit for us; the building is great, good layout, a separate playground for each room, everything new and clean. The negatives: the infant rooms have had a bit too much staff turnover, both because of issues out of their control (maternity leave, repetitive stress injuries) but also because finding good qualified infant teachers is hard and one or two new hires didn't work out; because of the UC budget crisis the Univ. has cut their contribution, leading to higher fees and a stressful environment where you don't know from one year to the next if service or part of the program will be cut, and they have drastically reduced the number of subsidized spots for student parents; because classroom transitions happen only in the fall a child can sometimes enter a toddler or preschool room too early/late for their maturity level. I don't know enough about the Clark Kerr site to do a good comparison - I believe that the facilities are not as nice but overall the teachers and program quality is similar. Personally I much prefer this to a nanny (granted we only have 3 months of nanny experience). It is more stimulating for the children, they learn to play well with other kids, and I like that all the teachers are trained and working in a setting with many other teachers so they there are external ''checks'' so to speak. Anon
I can speak to Clark Kerr and Haste Street as we had experience at both sites. While Clark Kerr is crummy physically (trailers -- although I think they are moving the CKIC to permanent buildings within the Clark Kerr campus so that should be better) it is located on a beautiful campus so the kids can really have time in nature. Even more importantly, while Haste Street is shiny and eco and new, we did not anticipate the fact that, as the newest UC care center, the teachers would have the least seniority in the system, and that there would therefore be more turnover. The infant room at Haste Street, in particular, has suffered terrible staffing problems the last two years (make sure to talk to current parents in the room) and other rooms have had transitions in teaching (aka subs) as well. We liked having our kid in group care versus with a nanny. He did get sick some the first semester, but he really was well socialized and learned how to be around other kids. It was also nice to get to know other UC parents across departments. Either site is great and convenient for breast feeding from the campus if that was something you wanted to do. In general, the teachers are dedicated, experienced, and loving, but they are suffering the onslaughts of UC budget cuts, like all of us. UC mom
We are parents of an Infant in Haste Street UCB childcare and cannot fully endorse it. While a lot of teachers are doing an excellent job, the center is poorly managed and the UC/California budget issues are allowed to directly influence the care the children get. Staff is unionized and several people are out on paid Leave for undetermined time; substitutes are hired as part-time employees only so that no benefits have to be paid for them. Some rooms have a ''patchwork'' of part-time caregivers, sometimes you come into the room in the evening and someone you don't know is holding your child. The ''3:1'' ratio is misleading as well - we expected that to mean 1 teacher, 3 infants (this is how it was presented during the interview) and that is only the case for 2 hours each day; the rest of the day is student assistants filling in. This can lead to chaos in the room if 1 core teacher is out sick, for example, and we had quite a couple of bad mistakes happen: children not fed or nobody knows if medication has been administered, for example. This might be a non-issue if you have stable teachers in the room who know the kids, maybe you'll get more lucky. Turnover is a big issue at Haste Street. We were thinking we'll pay more so that teachers make more, so they'll stay; but the reason for turnover at Haste is not so much teachers leaving for another job, but going on some kind of paid Leave. UC/Union agreements are very different from what you would find in a regular childcare center, so these problems are hard to predict and kind of specific to UC-managed enterprises.
That being said, it is a beautiful building, the program pertaining to children-teacher interaction is well worked out, there are lots of activities and most children seem to enjoy going to daycare. Most parents are taking good care of their kids, too (no surprise given the hefty price tag of 2k/month for infant care). Some teachers are excellent and kids and parents love them.
If you're thinking about signing up, make sure that you know exactly who will be on staff in that room, how many teachers are part-time, how many teachers are actually substitutes and if they can stay as long as needed or if they have to leave after having exhausted a predetermined quota of hours. Make sure you see an actual full-day schedule so that you can assess how many caregivers there really will be. Once you've signed up, it is very hard to get out of the contract (penalties).
I have heard good things about Clark-Kerr in terms of stability - there are no student assistants and the teachers spend more time in the room.
The way I see it with UC childcare is that there is a triangle of interests - budget, employees and children. Currently budget is strictly enforced. Employees are unionized and are understandably supported by HR and management. Children have only their parents fighting for them (management will too but only if it doesn't affect budget or employee rights, so there's not much wiggling room). Parents' concerns are very hard to push through (no real leverage). anon
Could anyone tell me about their experience at Haste Street Child Development Center? My second question is about sharing chidcare. The center only advertises full-time places but I wondered if anyone has ever shared (split the week) childcare there. Thank you!
Haste St is a great play-based daycare center, with a community of really committed teachers and involved parents. I have been very impressed with the great care my children have received and the fun activities they have been involved in over the years. I highly recommend it ...however, I should also mention that it is unclear right now how the current budget crisis affecting UC in general and the Early Childhood Education Program in particular will impact the childcare situation. As for splitting the week, you would have to check with the enrollment coordinator, but I have heard that it is not impossible. Depending on their enrollment situation and the finding a similarly aged child to ''split'' with, it may be possible. anon
We have two kids at Haste St. and are very happy with both classrooms this year. The teachers in the infant room are great -- sweet, playful, kind. The only bad thing I could say about them is sometimes they are a little overzealous about sending your kid home. The teachers are also great in the preschool room, the teachers are also great. They are playful and fun and have cool projects and are good about getting kids to join in. The only bad thing I could say is that the yard is a bit small for some kids, though they make good use of every square inch.
It might be possible to split preschool spots but there is such a long waitlist for infant and toddler care that I can't imagine they would let you split those. But, you never know! Anon
Does anyone have experiences with the new Haste Street Child development center at UC Berkeley? We were hoping to find a spot for our daughter next fall, when she'll be 2, but they have a spot opening in June so we need to decide quickly if we want to take it. vali
My daughter started at Haste St in January at 21 months, and we have been very happy there. It is a nice facility, the teachers are great and the kids are a cheerful, well-adjusted group. We were concerned at first about the small outdoor play space, but it hasn't been much of an issue. We are overall very pleased. Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions. Monique