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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Classes & Lessons > Bananas

Childcare Referrals

Re: How to Find Childcare
All I can say is--Bananas! (A free child care resource, referral, and support service). They are the goddesses of those needing help in figuring out "how-to" do anything re: childcare. Their focus is Alameda County--because that's where their funding comes from--but El Cerrito squeaks in a bit around the edges. Set aside a couple of hours and go there if you can (to get your "how-to" talk & handouts and have time to look through cards of family/center/in-home providers). Call them if you can't. They won't find childcare for you but they'll give you the tools to find it for yourself. (Caveat: there are no quick and easy solutions, but there are good solutions.)
You will get better info and be less frustrated if you _visit_ Bananas, rather than call. They have a card for each provider, showing approximate location, which you can match up to the maps they have there. This is really important if you are trying to find daycare on a specific travel route. Also, remember that you may look at things differently after your child arrives, and you have developed specific concerns/issues that are important to you and to him/her. I looked at places when I was pregnant that seemed fine, but I felt differently after my boy was born, so I felt like I had to re-visit and re-interview some places, just to be sure. doesn't hurt to get on more waiting lists than you need, and turn down their offers of a spot later.

Parenting Classes & Workshops

October 1998

RE: parenting classes
You should check Bannanas... They offer short topic related classes from time to time. They are usually free, and taught by really good folks. They have a calendar at:

Bananas offers great parenting classes. They are either free or at a very reasonable price. Bananas is located at 5232 Claremont Ave., Oakland, Ca 94618. Phone number 658-0381. It is easier to write to them or go to their agency than to make a phone call. This is a very popular agency and the phone line is always busy. Their newsletter, which cost about $5 a year, has great referrals for classes, workshops, activities for children, etc. Good luck!! Zeze

Support Groups

Re: Therapist for Step parenting issues (Feb 1999)
There is a drop-in stepparent support group that meets the first Thursday of every month 7:30-9:00 pm at Bananas on Claremont in Oakland. I believe the phone number is 433-9404, but check a Parents' Press to be sure. The moderator, Anthony, is a stepfather, father, and professional counselor. He is very knowledgeable and does a good job of running the group. I attended for about a year until my son was born. I haven't been able to make it back since (he's 15 months old now). One drawback to the group is that attendance was very irregular. Only three people came on a regular basis, me and a couple (who also now have a toddler and aren't able to make it).

And, yes, being a stepparent can be very hard. I've been one for about 5 years now. If you want to talk more about it, please feel free to send me e-mail. Lucy

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