After-school Programs in BUSD

Parent Q&A

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  • TK after school programs

    (2 replies)

    Hi all,

    I'm reaching for some advice on after-school care for our soon-to-be TK-er. The Learns program at his school (Washington) is understaffed at the moment, and therefore may not be an option. I have explored the city programs near our home (like the one in San Pablo Park), and great as they seem, I do worry that at 4.5 my son may be a little young for the level of supervision they provide.  JCC doesn't provide after-school care for TK, and the New School is too far from our home. Are there any options I'm overlooking? Do people ever organize groups of kids with babysitters for afterschool care? 


    A working parent

    As it turns out JCC DOES have some openings available for TK after-school care, and they can provide transportation in many instances. I've been very impressed by their program so far...

    My kindergartener went to one of the city programs this year (Live Oak) and it was great. He rode the bus and he had plenty of support navigating that. I think the level of supervision is about the same as at LEARNS - they do adult-led activities like group games and some craft projects and also have lots of time to just run and play, but always pretty well supervised. The city programs are actually smaller than LEARNS so the kids could may even get more personal attention. The only thing I could think of as a potential concern would be if your kid has a tendency to run away because they are at public parks rather than a fenced-in school park. I haven't heard of this ever being a problem in our program though, they keep the kids pretty well engaged so I wouldn't worry about this unless your kid really has a history of being a runner. Last thing: don't underestimate the power of convenience! If you live near San Pablo Park and there's a bus there from Washington (there aren't buses from all schools to all locations, so you'll have to check), I would definitely recommend that. Live Oak was far for us so we are going to try to get a spot at San Pablo this year.

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  • BUSD elementary afterschool programs

    (5 replies)

    We're parents of an elementary student entering BUSD, and wondering if anyone can offer insight into the BUSD afterschool programs.  I know options and availability vary based on school site, and we are aware of BEARS and LEARNS.  Specifically, wondering what students do in LEARNS in the afternoon? Are there enrichment programs to sign up for? Is it pretty unstructured and how do younger students handle that? Overall, have you been happy with your afterschool program? We both work full time and are a little apprehensive of having our child in afterschool program for 3 or 4 hours each afternoon, so we're considering reducing our work hours or considering finding a nanny for afterschool (though both options of course come with tradeoffs).  Any insights into how other families have navigated this for young elementary school students would be great. 

    I can't speak to BUSD's afterschool program since my kiddo didn't go to it, but just want to mention there are alternative programs -- JCC, New School, etc.  (BUSD busses do drop offs at those locations so you would not need to pick up from the elementary school.)  They are more expensive but perhaps look into those as well if you find you don't like LEARNS/BEARS. 

    I can speak to this year’s experience at Oxford Elementary. We have a kindergartener who does LEARNS 4-5 times per week and they love it. It has allowed our child to bond deeply with classmates across the two kinder classes as well as with students in different grades, creating a really solid foundation and sense of belonging for them as they have navigated the transition from preschool to elementary school. LEARNS offers daily art projects, snacks, and lots of outside time. I am not sure if enrichment classes are offered in non-pandemic times, but we’ll be returning next year for sure. A huge shout out to the staff at Oxford LEARNS!

    Our sons did Learns at two different school - Sylvia Mendez and Malcolm X, both when they were in TK. We're very disappointed Learns doesn't operate at their current school, John Muir (and I truly don't understand why). Learns is affordable, they meet kids from same/adjacent grades, and flexible. Our kids do snack, worksheets, play games, get free time outside, and occasionally do crafts or watch movies (especially on rainy days). Pre-Covid, at Sylvia Mendez they offered Soccer Shots on campus once or twice a week for a couple months, as well as a few other programs that we were always too late to sign up for. That isn't happening at Malcolm X this year, so it seems to vary by school (and/or be impact by Covid). We're thrilled it's one location, teachers seem happy and energetic, and snack is provided. Kids come home tired but in a happy way, and again, get more time with their friends and in their school community. I like the relative flexibility/lack of structure combined with good safety and oversight (compared to programs at public parks). It's a huge benefit in comparison to having no after school care, where we're juggling after school activities, various family members picking up, etc.

    My first grader attends LEARNS at BAM and loves it. During the short period that school was in person last year (her kindergarten year), she attended LEARNS one day per week. The first two days felt "too long," but after that, she loved it and asked to be picked up "as late as possible." There is structured time for the kids to read (all grades are expected to read every day) and to do homework, and then the kids have unstructured play time. Sometimes there are organized games, but my kid likes just playing with her friends. Pre-pandemic, there were enrichment classes, and I expect they will start back up again in the 22-23 school year. Some kids really like the unstructured play time while others like the structure of the enrichment classes.

    Hi! Our school (Ruth Acty) put after school enrichment programs on hold during covid and focus seems to be getting RAZ (after school care) back up to pre covid staffing and enrollment. With Crowden right next door and Girls on the Run down the street at Ohlone Park, we have good options for extra curricular. For my kids, they just want to play at the end of the day! The after school team runs a homework club and then has games and art activities going on which is great. After a long day in school, I appreciate the unstructured time. Even when we had after school programming (cooking class, yoga), my kids sometimes asked to skip it so the could simply play and be with their friends. 

  • 2022-2023 BUSD TK aftercare?

    (3 replies)

    Hello! I'm new to BUSD and I will have a child in TK in the fall. I'm hoping to find out when registration starts for Berkeley Learns, Bears, or the City of Berkeley aftercare programs? We were told to sign up as soon as we find out which school she's going to, but it's really hard to find out information on the websites about registration for aftercare. Any insight, and also if you have to register in person, it would be greatly appreciated!

    I can only speak about BEARS but you can only apply when you know which school your child got into. There is a BEARS phone number (Ashley Stepney) on the BUSD web site, under the heading of Afterschool. Call her as soon as you get your notification, and she can email you all the paperwork you need. Because it is a subsidized program, expect to provide income statements.

    Best of luck! 

     Last year aftercare was impacted by staffing shortages, and I think that has impacted the process. My kid is at Emerson, and they had to reduce the number of kids they could accept for aftercare because they were so short staffed. I'm not sure what's happening this year, but you could try reaching out directly to the principal of the school your child will be attending to ask if they have any updates on aftercare. Hopefully the principals have some insight. Good luck! 

    I am in the same boat awaiting school assignment. Working single mother 9-5 M-F I will have to come up with something in addition to TK short day schedule. Let me know what you find out! 

  • School After Care in Berkeley

    (1 reply)


    We are new Berkeley residents. We missed the first enrollment in BUSD and got placed at our last choice school. We are waitlisted for the 2 schools close to our new home and now we've been shut out of every school after care option! What is the deal? We are #40 on the waitlists for the programs through Berkeley Rec and #14 at his school. I'm truly regretting my decision to pull my son from our old district since they told us we could stay. What are other full time working parents doing with their grade school age kids? Can someone help me? I'm about to pull him from BUSD bc this some serious BS.

    Thanks for your help!

    You are not alone in not getting a school close to you home, because that's not how Berkeley does things. And pulling your child out of BUSD is not going to make your aftercare situation better. If you can't get on-campus aftercare, you need to look at off-campus options. I'm in Oakland, so I can't give you any specific recommendations, but my daughter did off-site aftercare (with van pickup from school) for all of elementary school. It is not an unusual situation.

  • I am hoping to find afterschool activities for my 5 year old who will be starting TK in Berkeley in August 2021. I've seen many great classes in the area that are held on weekends or start at 4pm or 5pm, but am having trouble finding offerings from around 2PM to 5PM. I'm interested in a wide range of activities like martial arts, dance, music, art, and outdoor play. I'm already on a few waitlists, including LEARNS and some preschools, and am looking for other ideas. Please let me know if you have any suggestions! 

    Thank you!


    How did you get your 5-year-old into TK? If your 5 by September, then you're automatically put into Kindergarten. I ask because I wanted to get my son into TK, but so no way arround this rule. 

    For afterschool things, check out John Muir Elementary. It has an afternoon program. 

    The city of Berkeley runs an after school program. You can sign up now.

  • Aftercare at Sylvia Mendez

    (7 replies)

    Does anyone know what is happening with aftercare at Sylvia Mendez? I have a kindergartener starting there in three weeks. I'd applied for the LEARNS program, but received a notice a few weeks ago that they did not have staff to run the program, so wasn't enrolling anyone. I asked for an update recently and got nothing, so I applied for BEARS a couple of weeks ago, and haven't heard anything back about that either.

    Is the LEARNS staff shortage just at Sylvia Mendez, or more widespread at BUSD? It's getting a bit late to try to sort other aftercare, and I don't know whether LEARNS will come back on-line or what. I have tried calling the BUSD aftercare staff and just got voicemail.

    Yes there is a huge problem across BUSD to staff the before and after school programs. I have been trying to help recruit for Rosa Parks as well :(

    Hi, I too have a kindergartner starting at Emerson. There is a shortage throughout BUSD and it looks like parents will have to fend for themselves unless you can mobilize with other parents to rotate childcare. Not ideal, but that's what I heard other parents doing at other schools. Best of luck. 

    This is a district-wide problem and everyone is in the same place as you. There are a few private options, and a recent email from the superintendent said that BUSD would offer busing to these private options, but as far as I know they are all full. The city usually runs an afterschool program but it hasn't been announced yet for this year. So you are not alone, all the working families in Berkeley are as stuck in uncertainty as you. My backup plan is to swap care with some other families at the same school and maybe hire a babysitter together, but I'm hoping that either LEARNS or the city program will come through.

    Hi. I'm a BUSD parent with a child in the BEARS elementary program. In previous years, when I attempted to contact BEARS during summer months, I have found that they are off generally until about two weeks before school starts. If you haven't already, I would recommend contacting every single person (via phone and email) listed on the BUSD elementary afterschool web page (including Aaron, the program head), and leave messages on every voice mail you reach.

    That's alarming that they aren't enrolling any LEARNS at all-- I guess if anyone is looking for a job, the school district apparently has lots of openings?

    Yes. I followed up and received an email response from LEARNS telling me they will be finalizing placements this week and informing families next week. 

    As an addendum, it seems that the City of Berkeley after school care registration is opening August 5, and it looks like busing from schools is provided.

    Finally received an e-mail late in the afternoon on Friday, offering us a place! I'm so glad they got things up and running. The e-mail didn't say whether they were full or putting others on waitlist or what, though. 

  • BUSD BEARS after school question

    (0 replies)

    My child has been in the Berkeley public school BEARS aftercare program for a few years, and I’d like to touch base with other parents with kids currently in BEARS, at any of the schools. I’m interested in what activities and projects the kids generally do, primarily to figure out whether some issues are district-wide or site-specific. 

    Reply or messaging is fine. Thanks. Just current BEARS families, please.

    No responses received.

  • BUSD - AM Care

    (3 replies)

    I am trying to identify the start times for morning extended care (BEARS, LEARNS, etc) at Sylvia Mendez and BAM. I'm unable to find it on their websites and neglected to ask when I toured. Thank you for any light you can shed on this!


    BEARS starts at 7:00 am.

    LEARNS does not do AM care.

    You can contact the district coordinators:

    Aaron Jorgensen, Extended Learning Program Supervisor
    Tel: 510.644.7770 | Fax: 510.644.7726
    Email: aaronjorgensen [at]

    Angela Handy, After School Program Supervisor
    Tel: 510.644.8625 | Fax: 510.644.7726
    Email: angelahandy [at]

    Hi! I have a correction about what I said regarding LEARNS before care. The district website says: “LEARNS also has morning programs before school at Berkeley Arts Magnet, Cragmont and Rosa Parks.”

  • Aftercare programs with openings BUSD

    (2 replies)

    We moved to Berkeley recently and enrolled our kindergartner at Cragmont. We were hoping to enroll him in the onsite aftercare program, but it’s full. :(

    Does anyone know of any afterschool programs that currently have openings and pick up from Cragmont? Thanks! 

    My kindergartner goes to Live Oak Park. I think it says it's waiting list on the website, but there are a few spots. It's a city handled after school. They pick up from all the BUSD schools (I think). I know they do for Washington and Malcolm X. My son loves going there and they can use the fabulous park. Step by and ask for Daniel, the director. Good luck!

    Welcome to Cragmont! It's a wonderful community.  I know that some Cragmont kids take the school bus to the JCC and to New School to attend the afterschool programs at those sites.  My child attends the JCC and loves it.  Kids at the JCC have lots of opportunity to run around as well as tons of enrichment classes.  I hear great things about New School as well but have no experience with it.

  • Live Oak After School program

    (3 replies)

    I'd like to hear some experiences with the Live Oak After School program. The city website ( is not very forthcoming. Our daughter will be attending K at MX in the fall, and the Live Oak Community center is so very convenient to our house.

    Thanks in advance!

    My son (kindergarten) attends the after-school there and he absolutely loves it! I have to go pick him up not before 5.30 because he does not want to leave. They use the outdoor space (playground, crick, parc) a lot, so if your daughter is the outdoor kind (my son is) she will love it. They do a lot of plays and the people working there are great but it's not very structured which is perfectly fine for my child, but if your daughter prefers very structured activities maybe it's not the perfect place. It's also a much smaller group compared to the public schools after-schools which is I prefer, especially for younger kids (easier to make friends and not get lost, not confronted with older kids who are in another group). My son also loves to take the bus from school (he is at Washington) to Live Oak, it makes him feel independent. You might want to ask if the program will work next year though. They are doing construction work there this summer (the outdoor is gorgeous but the building is really old). Not sure when they will finish...

    I am pretty sure that the City of Berkeley afterschool program is no longer located at Live Oak Community Center.  It was there for a year, but I believe that that was a temporary location while another community center was being remodeled.  If you are looking for an afterschool program near Live Oak, I highly recommend the JCC on Walnut.  The JCC has tons of enrichment classes but also allows kids to run around on the playground if that's what they need.  At least in the past, there was a school bus from MX that dropped kids off at the JCC.  


    Unfortunately, the Live Oak Community Center will be closed for renovations during the 2019-2020 school year.  The City of Berkeley offers a few other options, but currently only has bussing to the Willard and Frances Albrier Afterschool Programs.  Registration for those programs usually opens in August for new participants.

  • TK after-school care

    (2 replies)

    Hi, we just moved to the area from out of state and our son is starting TK at King CDC in the fall. Does anyone know what people there do for after-school care - is there a city or private program that most kids attend? We're having trouble actually reaching anyone at the school (probably because it's summer) - not even sure when the official school day ends! Thanks so much.

    Hi! Welcome to Berkeley schools!

    The Berkeley school district runs two afterschool programs, which King TK kids get bused to at a nearby elementary school (probably Malcolm X but not sure): LEARNS and BEARS. LEARNS likely has a wait list at this point, but you could try:

    BEARS is income-qualified, so you can contact them to see if you're in the right range:

    The City of Berkeley after school programs and the JCC seem like they start at kindergarten, so it may come down to finding a private preschool that has "afterschool" spots. I think TK usually ends at 1:30, but King might be different. And yes, the district offices are closed until some time in August, so you'll have a hard time reaching anyone until then.

    Good luck!

    Our daughter went to TK at King CDC two years ago. The on-site after school program is income eligible. If you don't qualify they will bus your child with other TK kids to the Learns after school program at another school - when we were there it was at Washington. But your child can also be bused to any private after school program of your choice. JCC is very popular. So is New School. We even made arrangements with the transportation dept to take our daughter to her pre-school (Mustard Seed) to spend afternoons there. If King CDC is not responding I would contact the BUSD transportation dept. I found them very helpful. We had a great experience at King! 

  • After care options for TK at Malcolm X

    (2 replies)

    Our daughter was assigned to Malcom X and we immediately registered her for the LEARNS after school program. We recently found out that we've been waitlisted. They said they are "really trying to get her in." However, they won't tell us where she is on the wait list until August, so it's hard to know how likely or unlikely it is that they'll find her a spot. After calling around to other after school care providers that offer transportation from Malcom X, we have been told by all providers that they are full and waitlist enrollment doesn't start for several weeks. Does anyone have any insights into the process at Malcom X or advice for finding an alternative after care program? I feel a bit like we're just hitting brick walls every place we look.  


    I'm sorry that you have been going through this frustration.  We are in the same situation -- my incoming Kindergartener is wait listed for LEARNS at Malcolm X even though we got our application in on the first day.  I had tried to talk to the MX coordinator but she is apparently out until Aug 14.  I have had better luck reaching out to Aaron Jorgensen who is the LEARNS supervisor for all the Berkeley schools.  He acknowledges the need to add another K group (an additional instructor so they can accommodate more kids and meet required ratios).  The Board needs to approve it but Aaron is pretty confident it will be approved.  This would mean that a bunch of spaces open up.  I am surprised you are not able to find out your spot on the wait list.  Aaron told us over the phone -- try calling him (his number is on the LEARNS website).  It seems to be poorly organized which is super frustrating, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works out.  

    For aftercare, you should check out New School. Their website doesn't reflect it that well, but they have an amazing after-school program for school age kids. It's $500/month (compared with BUSD's LEARNS at $450/month) and much higher quality, from what I've seen. The BUSD school bus drops the kids off there, so you don't have to worry about transportation to another school site. Just in case it's not on your radar: the JCC in North Oakland has aftercare and picks up the kids from MX. 

  • BUSD afterschool programs for K

    (2 replies)

    I am trying to learn about affordable, full time afterschool programs for students at Malcom X and Washington.  I'd like to hear from parents whose kids attend LEARNS at either school or the PTA run programs that are full time OR parents whose kids are at any BUSD school and attend the City of Berkeley programs at Willard, James Kenney/Live Oak, or Frances Albrier.  Do your kids like it?  What are the pros/cons?  Is the program well organized, good at communicating, etc?


    We like Washington's Learns program a lot. It improved significantly this year with new leadership--the whole staff seems more organized and enthusiastic, the enrichment options are better, and there's been clearer communication about how the program is run. It doesn't have some of the bells and whistles that other places have, including the full array of PTA-sponsored, largely pay-as-you-go enrichment options that some other Learns programs offer. But the built-in enrichment provided within the Learns program is solid, including sports, art, games, engineering, and drama. There are also some on campus enrichment options you can add, such as Spanish and chess, which aren't part of Learns but can be coordinated so your kid does both. My kid also seems to get more physical activity on the yard with Learns (endless soccer, basketball, and kickball, among other things) than he did at most summer camps, plus there's a homework hour, which is reading time for the younger kids. No program is perfect, but our kid is often reluctant to leave at pickup.

    I have my kid in Trackers aftercare. They pick up from Washington on Mondays and Wednesdays. It is wonderful!

    I have him in a couple of days of LEARNS at Washington, too. Sadly, the LEARNS program at Washington is a real weak spot. He loves school, but the aftercare he has very mixed reports about. Sometimes he loves it, but by his own 8 year old description "nobody get's picked on in school because the teachers won't let you get picked on. But the teachers in aftercare will let kids pick on you." 

  • BAM afterschool options

    (2 replies)

    My son is starting K in August at BAM (even though we live two blocks from Rosa Parks), and I'm already wildly frustrated with the afterschool/before school situation.  Are there any current parents who can comment on the BAM afterschool programs?  What do the children do and where do they spend their time?  Are the K kids with the rest of the kids?  Who are the adults?  What about before school care?

    Also, are there any other solo parents out there?  People keep asking me if I'm excited about K but really it's turning into a scheduling nightmare.  The only bus home is right after school at 2:35 so I will have to figure out how to pick my child up later, across town from where we live and I work.  Clearly the BUSD is not set up to support solo parents or people without cars.

    Yes, after preschool kindergarten (and the rest of elementary school) are a scheduling nightmare. Our kids are at BAM and we are  very happy there. After care is run by the district, the kindergarteners are kept separate and the care givers are lovely. So is the man who runs the program. All that being said, I really think you should push to have your child placed at Rosa Parks. I'm not experienced at this, so hopefully others can give tips, but what you are describing sounds completely unsustainable and very stressful. In general I support the BUSD lottery system - it has many benefits for the community - but in your situation (single parent, no car) I think you should absolutely be placed at a school within walking distance of your home. Crossing my fingers for you! 

    Hey one option could be NEW school of Berkeley. Its just down the street from BAM. They pick up the kids from BAM. My boy goes to the aftercare there. and absolutely love it!


Archived Q&A and Reviews


After-school language program near Berkeley?

Aug 2015 

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.

Afterschool programs are full at John Muir

Sept 2014

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

After-School Care: BUSD school programs v. JCC

Nov 2012

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 (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

Afterschool Program in North Berkeley for 3rd grader

Jan 2012

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 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

Looking for after-school care in N. Berkeley

Oct 2010

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 ( 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] 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