Managing Half-Day Kindergarten
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Managing Half-Day Kindergarten
Hello! My daughter will be entering Kindergarten next year
(we are thinking about Fairmont in El Cerrito). She has
been in a full time daycare. It has recently been brought
to my attention that my work hours are not going to work
well with kindergarten 1/2 days! If she goes to morning, I
don't know how I would even pick her up to bring her to
daycare. If she goes to afternoon, she could be in daycare
in the morning, but I don't know how I would get her to
How do others handle this situation?
The City of El Cerrito recreation department provides full
time day care, 7am-6pm, for students at the El Cerrito
elementary schools. Here's the website for more info:
there are a few ways to deal with this. a) nanny/college
student who will pick up your child and take care of them
until you return home. i find wonderful people on
sittercity.com. b) there is in berkeley at least a van that
will pick up your children and deliver them to an
afterschool program. I can't remember the name but I'm sure
you could google it. I actually think I've seen an el
cerrito school van dropping off a child at my son's daycare
in el cerrito c) many daycares will pick up your child after
school and bring them to your house. My son is in Happy
Garden, a wonderfully warm and lovely in-home daycare (it's
chinese immersion) in El Cerrito and I know Eveline picks up
children from school and brings them to her house after
their school ends.
Does your school have an on-campus after (or before) school daycare? Ours
(called Adventure Time) does, and it was well worth checking out. They pick
the kids at the classroom door after school (or would drop them off to
classes if there were any at our school), personally signing them in or out.
provide sports, art, free play, and other activities (e.g. cooking, jigsaw
and homework for the older ones) for the kids, all supervised -- and kids'
choice. At our school the program begins at 7:30 in the morning and runs
6:00 pm. Surely, you are not the only working parent at your school -- most
have some such program.
You may want to look for a daycare that provides
transportation for students attending Fairmont School in
El Cerrito. My friend, Wednesdey Chavis, MA, owns Happy
Lion School and Daycare Center in San Pablo, (510) 233-
3330, http://www.happyliondaycare.com Her daycare center
offers vanpool service for students that attend West
Contra Costa District schools. She also has a Preschool
Program. Wednesdey has a Masters degree in Education and
over 24 years experience in the childcare industry.
Check out photos of the center,
They moved to this new location during the Fall, 2009, so
they have a new, wonderful environment for children. If
you want more information, please call her to schedule a
Does anyone know of public schools offering all-day Kindergaten
schools in either, Berkley, Oakland, Alameda or Albany or perhaps
other communities? My friend in Chicago tells me their school
district has adopted this successfully.
looking at option
I could be wrong about this, as my son doesn't start
kindergarten till next fall, but I'm pretty sure all Oakland
schools have all-day kindergartens. That was my understanding,
and it's mentioned several times in their 2007 Annual Report:
Public School Mom-to-Be
All OUSD public schools have full-day kindergarten. I don't
know about other districts, but this FDK was implemented in
My son is an Oakland Public School kindergartener this year. I
think the entire OUSD is full day kindergarten. Certainly all of
our pre-school and daycare friends are in full day programs at
various OUSD schools.
The Oakland Unified School District mandated several years ago
that all kindergartens be full-day.
Oakland Public School Mama
As I understand it, all kindergartens for schools in Oakland Unified School
currently all-day only. This generally means from around 8:30 to around 2:30
bit by school).
All Berkeley Public Schools have ''all day'' kindergarten. The
exact times the day runs depends on a given school. Some start
and end earlier than others. Kindergarteners end their day one
hour before the upper grades do. Most schools offer after school
care on site, and some of the later starting schools (around 9
am) offer before school care as well. There are also other after
school care programs at city parks, the JCC in Berkeley, to name
Oakland, I believe, now has ''full day'' kindergarten now at all
Albany is still on half days. There are before and after care
programs on site at some schools and also through the Albany YMCA
How do parents and children who have had full-time
daycare/preschool cope with the transition to a short
Our daughter will start kindergarten in Fall 2005, when she will
be 5.5 years old (Feb. birthday). Since she was six months old,
she has been in daycare and now preschool from about 8:30 am to
5:30 pm 5 days per week. In fact, by the time she starts
kindergarten, she will have had three years of full-time
Montessori preschool. This schedule has worked out very well
for our family.
We live in Albany and my understanding is that kindergarten here
is only three hours per day. I'm having trouble dealing with
the idea that our daughter will spend more time in some sort of
before- and/or after-school program than she will in actual
school. This seems like a schedule that's better suited for
families with at least one parent working less than full-time
outside the home. (I'm not blaming the schools, by the way -- I
understand that they are short of money and that there may be
other good reasons for a short kindergarten day.)
How do kids who come from full-time, fairly structured preschool
do in a combination of kindergarten and before/after school
programs? Some of the private schools seem to have longer
kindergarten days plus on-site after-school care -- did this
schedule factor into anyone's decision to choose private school
over public, and if so, are you happy with that decision? Is
there any reason why a shorter kindergarten day might be better
even for a ''full-time'' kid?
I will greatly appreciate any thoughts on this. BTW, changing
our work schedules is not an option.
worried mom of a full-time preschooler
We are well into the kindergarten year at our local public
school and the short day issue has been our number one problem.
My daughter had been in three full days of daycare since six
months old. She loves kindergarten (AM until 11:40) and her
teacher. She is thriving but the afternoons are long for all of
us. I decided to lower my hours to pick her up myself. It's a
lot of juggling and has made it hard to meet other moms since I
have always worked. The on-site daycare was not going to work
out because I didn't want my tiny little kindergartner spending
all of those hours with all of those big kids. Know this, the
days don't get much longer because in first grade through third
grade school is out at 1:50 and in fourth and fifth I think it
is 3:00pm. Count on a daycare bill for many years to come and
use the quality of it as a factor as well to determine if you
go the public school route.
I'm so glad you asked this--I'm struggling with exactly the same
question. (My son was born 4/00.) I spoke to someone in the
before/aftercare program for our districted school and was not
impressed and, like you, have reservations about my son spending
more time there than in K.
My (private) daycare feeds into its private K-8 school. Two of
the teachers I like have been transferred there already, and the
price is the same as I'm paying now. Also, I can use my Cafeteria
125 plan to pay for the first $5k in cost. I'm strongly leaning
toward doing this for K.
OTOH, I do want to support my local school district, get to know
the school, have him know his future classmates, and support
public school. I sure wish it were set up better for families
where parents work FT outside the home. Frustrating.
Jennie in Alameda
Thank you so much for your question. My daughter and I are in
about the same situation (in El Cerrito) and I am looking very
forward to the responses.
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