After-school Programs in BUSD
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I am looking for an after-school foreign language program near Berkeley for my Kindergarten and 3rd grade kids. Spanish, French, Mandarin--anything that will get the language synapses firing! We are in a BUSD school without any real foreign language options. Thanks for any recommendations! East Bay Momma
Hi - You don't say what BUSD school you are at. Classroom Matters offers after school Spanish programs at Washington, Rosa Parks & Thousand Oaks. To register contact Tatiana at (510) 540-8646. If your not at one of these schools you can also discuss ways to get it there. My kids participated all year at Washington and I recommend it. Washington Parent.
Last week we found out our son got into John Muir for Kindergarten. Now we are scrambling to find after school program and am having problems:
1. Oakland JCC- turns out they won't pick up from John Muir- only Le Conte or Malcom X
2. The kids in motion program on campus is full.
3. I don't know much about the BEARS program.
Does anyone know of other after-school programs that I should consider? Or more information about BEARS (or LEARNS? I'm so confused and I haven't been able to get a hold of anyone at the office there)? Thanks in advance
I live in Rockridge and my son goes to Studio One after school care program. It's been only 3 days as of now. I think I am comfortable. I am not sure if they pick up from John Muir but you have the option of picking your child and dropping off at Studio One for $20/day. Mom
My child will be in kindergarten at a BUSD South zone school next year (of course don't know which one yet). I'm very confused about the after school options. There are almost too many! I can't seem to decipher why schools have more than one, the differences, and what makes one ''better'' than the other for a child. Also, how does the JCC program compare? We are Jewish, and have had the pleasure of our child attending a Jewish preschool, so like the idea of some continuation of jewish culture in the ''school'' setting (not a priority). Thanks in advanced! What About After School?
I'm a parent of a West Area BUSD first grader. My daughter participated in the afterschool program at her school last year - it was not a good fit for her (not enough time to run around outside, too much time parked in the cafeteria with board games that might or might not interest her on a given day, no real sense of enrichment activity, etc). That said, I understand that each school's afterschool program runs fairly independently, so your mileage may vary.
I can't speak to the JCC afterschool program, but the JCC summer camp (Camp Tzofim) is run by/hires a lot of the same folks, and it's really great. If I didn't love where my daughter currently is for afterschool care (see below), that's probably where she'd be.
Another Jewish afterschool care option (and this is where my daughter goes) is Edah http://www.edahcommunity.org/ (housed at Congregation Beth El on Oxford, with bus service from most BUSD schools, like the JCC afterschool program) and it is fantastic! Art and music in various forms happen daily, and there are ample opportunities for outdoor and self-directed play, as well. The staff does a wonderful job working with kids where they are, and I know my daughter's getting the support and encouragement she deserves after a tough day in first grade. Happy Edah Mama
I think the JCC in general, is a ''kinder, gentler'' option, and comes complete with Shabbat, challah, etc. The BUSD afterschool programs can be a bit wild and rough, with a much more diverse population. It depends on your kid. We've done both. Jewish BUSD mom of 3
Hi, I was massively confused about afterschool programs two years ago when we were applying to South Zone kindergartens. I am sure some of it was anxiety about the impending switch to elementary school but mostly it just wasn't clear what program was what (and they were different at different schools as you point out and add to that we weren't sure what school we would end up at). In the end we heard enough so-so reviews of all the BUSD afterschool programs (i.e. sort of glorified daycare) that we decided to sign up with the Oakland JCC so we would be assured of knowing where our daughter would be for afterschool even if we didn't know what school she would be at and that it would be a solid program. We chose the Oakland branch because it is a lot closer to our house. We've been very happy there, our daughter has made good friends, the diverse staff is sweet and are able to concentrate on activities as opposed to running around chasing after kids and they have some good options for classes (chugim). There is also a nice community feeling to the place which is enhanced by Parents Night Out evening programs (where kids can watch a movie on a Saturday night while the parents have a date!), community Shabbat events, etc. I love that there is recognition and celebration of Jewish holidays and traditions (but not so much so that non-Jewish kids would feel left out I don't think but not sure about that). I don't regret one bit that we chose the non-school program and am glad that my daughter will get to go there for years with some of the same kids. Also, the new director (Stan Berrin) is a sweetheart and I'm sure would be happy to give you a tour and discuss any details you are curious about. Oakland JCC Mom
We just started kindergarten in the south zone this fall so I can share what I've learned. Each school has its own after care program. At Emerson, it's called Kids World. I think theoretically you can go to a different after school program than the school you're enrolled at but in practice, they all seem to be oversubscribed so I'm not sure if that actually happens. You should definitely apply as soon as you find out what school you're assigned because they fill up fast.
We initially didn't need after care but now find ourselves desperately needing it and can't get into anything. It's been incredibly frustrating. We are on the wait list at Kids World with no idea if we'll ever get in. I tried the JCC but they don't pick up at Emerson or John Muir. In fact, if you're at Emerson or John Muir, it's like a black hole as a lot of places won't pick up there (I tried BUSD transportation, but they said it was too far for them). I don't know why the after care programs can't hire more people as it seems every year they're oversubscribed. frustrated with after care
My 3rd grader is not liking the after school program at his school. I heard about a program in Live Oak Park called ''A World of Peace''. The site looks great and it appears BUSD will transport kids there. But I don't know anyone who goes there. Can anyone tell me about the program (its strengths and weaknesses)? Thanks. -Working Mom looking for good after school program
We didn't have great afterschool options and enrolled in a Trackers afterschool camp...they are awesome and focus on outdoor education and are very imaginative. Their website is www.trackersbay.com anon
our daughter loves AWOP (a world of peace) and has been attending many years. The staffing ratio is 6 kids to one counselor which is the highest of any afterschool program we looked at. It's also in Live Oak which has more open space than any aftercare spot around. We're very happy with it. b.
My son has attended A World of Peace at Live Oak Park for four years now. It's a great program, different than any other program out there. It offers a safe, nurturing environment for kids as well as offering a lot of fun things to do like woodworking and cooking. For us it's the perfect balance of structured vs. free play time. The director Karen Cagen considers the group of kids a community, and they gather daily to talk about ''factoids,'' (cool facts that she shares with them) or to discuss how they as a group can help others (they collected money and goods to send to victims of the Haiti earthquake.) Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like more information. kw
I have two third graders in the World of Peace (AWOP) program. They are picked up at the Live Oak bus stop by AWOP staff. My children love it, and it is a great resource for our family. Low staff to children ratio, different activities each day such as cooking and wood working, field trips on school holidays, and the director really knows and understands each child in the program. World of Peace parent
My son is a 3rd grader and in his 3rd year at A World of Peace After School Program (AWOP). There are many positive things I can say about the program, but what jumps to mind is the 3rd grade playground culture at his school. The boys who like to compete in sports now aggressively argue, insult or mock each other at every juncture, and they do with adult profanity and hostile tones. Many kids are too intimidated to play sports in this milieu; but not my son, he's very athletic so he's in the thick of it.
In contrast, when I pick up my son at A World of Peace I'm likely to find him playing a game of spoons with kids ranging from K to 5th grade and they're all having a blast. Often there's a game of wall ball in progress with a line of kids waiting their turn. If conflicts arise between kids, AWOP's director Karen Cagan gets involved. Karen knows how to listen to kids, how to talk to kids, and how to get kids to talk to each other. AWOP goes far beyond after school care. The program teaches kids how to play cooperatively and resolve conflict, and I really value this. Berkeley parent
Hi all! I recently moved to North Berkeley and my 5 year old daughter will be joining me in 3 weeks to begin Kindergarten. Berkeley Unified can't tell me which school she'll be enrolled in until she's physically here, so I'm in limbo in regards to after care and there's the possibility her school's after care will be full. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!! Angela
Hi Angela, I recently heard that The New School of Berkeley (www.newschoolberkeley.org) has afterschool openings. It's been a month since we started our son in their full-time daycare program (now full), and so far we're very happy with the caring and energetic staff. It's also conveniently located (Cedar and Bonita) and reasonably priced. Good luck! Anna
A World of Peace after school program is at Live Oak Park. It's run by Karen Cagen, apeacecamp [at] gmail.com 292-0263. It's a wonderful program that I can't say enough good things about, and every other parent I've talked to feels the same way. The kids love it. I consider Karen to be a wonderful resource and presence in my kids lives. There are several other recommendations in the BPN archives which attest to Karen's abilities, the quality of the program's activities, and its emphasis on teaching cooperative social skills. To what others have said I would add that Karen hires skilled young adult counselors who organize games, play with the kids, mediate arguments, etc., and most importantly give the kids attention. On most holidays and all the other days that BUSD schools are closed, Karen offers fun field trips. N Berkeley Parent
If your child is at Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM), the after school program is excellent with lots of homework support and devoted staff. After a bit of shaking out at the beginning of the year it looks like there are openings.
Not so much at New School-there's no homework support and the afterschool supervision of the kids is pretty lax (tho that is not the case with the actual daycare). My kids grades soared after a transfer out of NS into the BAM program.
The JCC is right down the street and is excellent as well and the newer program at Live Oak park has a good rep too tho i dont know that much about it.
BAM & the JCC are more $ than NS but you get what you pay for! -anon