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Clark Kerr Infant Center (UC Berkeley, CA)

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Preschools & Daycare > Clark Kerr Infant Center (UC Berkeley, CA)



June 2009

My daughter just graduated from Clark Kerr Infant Center (CKIC). We had a wonderful experience. Her teachers were experienced, knowledgeable and caring. CKIC has 3 year continuity of care, meaning the same small group of children and 2 teachers remain together for their entire time at CKIC and simply change classrooms once a year (together). This made all the difference in the world, the children had a near sibling relationship with each other and had strongly bonded with their teachers. The hardest part was saying good-bye to this ''family'' at the end. The program is deliberately play-based with relatively little structure. This would not have been my original choice, but my daughter thrived and learned so much. I am now a convert. While we had a wonderful experience with CKIC, we did have some problems with an upper administration that did not seem to value the input of (very proactive) parents. Rachel


Second thoughts about Clark Kerr Infant Center

August 2006

We have recently transitioned to UCB Clark Kerr Infant Center after having been quite happy at another school, primarily because of location and the prospect of attending the Child Study Center next year. We are wondering if perhaps we made a mistake, and are thus seeking input. Our concerns include the lack of any defined circle or group time (bonding, singing, reading, dancing)--which we had been under the impression DID exist, lack of small projects for the children to work on including art, and most importantly relative lack of effort making emotional contact with the child so far. Which has made this transition far harder than last time we started care. There is an excellent ratio, due to the number of students assisting, but the primary caregiver is sometimes quite absent. Any input from current or past parents would be very welcome


My son just graduated from the Clark Kerr Infant Center after spending 3 years there. He and I were very, very happy with the care he received there. I'm sorry you are a bit disappointed. You asked about circle time and art projects. From my understanding, this is a deliberate programmatic decision to not have an organized circle time. An organized circle time for 2-3 year olds (you mentioned the toddler room) is developmentally out of their reach. Singing, talking, discussing are all part of their day but incorporated into their daily play schedule. It's interesting that you mentioned are projects, because I was bringing home artwork almost daily! The morning teacher in my son's classroom always had at least one art project ready to go when he arrived - usually paint, gluing objects onto paper, drawing, cutting. Perhaps the teachers are taking it slow the first couple of weeks of the new year.

You also mentioned a lack of effort making emotional contact with the child so far. I don't know what teacher you are referring to, but again, from my 3 year experience there, all the teachers were wonderful caring professionals, nurtuing and very responsive. Perhaps they don't want to overwhelm the new children with too much stimulation in the first few days. One teacher in particular would wait for the children to come to them. Of course she would attend to their needs and reach out, but again, she was very mind-ful of the child's need to take it slow. This particular teacher was one of my son's most favorites and he now asks to go visit her now that he is attending the preschool (CSC).

I hope you talk to the teachers and the other parents about your concerns. I always found the teachers very responsive. I loved the CKIC and miss it. It is a small, initimate setting with wonderful teachers. I hope it works out for you and your child. Also, your child doesn't necessarily need to attend the CKIC to attend the Child Study Center preschool. My son just started at the preschool and there are several children who also just started but who came from other schools/day cares. Getting on the waiting list early it the key. Good luck,
missing the Infant Center


Our oldest child, who is now in Kindergarten, began at CKIC in the toddler room in Spring 2004. We chose CKIC because we were going through some family problems (death in the family), my husband is affiliated to UCB and we wanted our child to attend Clark Kerr Preschool. We had a great experience with him: all the activities that you are mentioning (bonding with kids/teachers/student assistants, singing, reading, making art projects, going for walks) were done during the day but not in a formal circle time. Moreover, it depends not only on the teacher but also on the kid if he or she wants to engage in the activity. My oldest son would rather play with blocks instead of making an art project, and although I have a big folder with his CKIC art work, he did not bring a project every day. On the other hand, my youngest boy, who is now in the wobbler room, loves to draw and in three days, he brought home two projects. I know that it is hard for the parents and for the child to transition from one school to other, but all the teachers in CKIC are great, very caring and affectionate. We feel lucky that Rosa and Jose were part of my oldest sonís formation, and Fanny and Tammy are part of my youngest oneís. If you have any concern, please talk to your childís teachers, so they can help to ease your doubts and navigate the transition. If you do not feel comfortable, talk to the site supervisor, Tammy Glassey, or to the program manager, Mary Hartman, who can help you too. You can also talk to me during the pick up time, or send me an e- mail. Cristina
August 2003

Hello, Our baby is on the wait list for the Clark Kerr Infant Center, and we are wondering whether people have had any problems with the level of care at the center (or have all experiences been wonderful)? The tuition is through-the- roof and we want to be sure that the care is excellent before giving up other options. Are all the teachers good? Most of the posts about the center are quite old, and we would like some fresh insights. Thanks, anon


I really like Clark Kerr Infant Center very much! My 3 1/2 year old spent her first 3 years at CK and loved it (she is now at Harold Jones). My 6 month old is in the infant room at CKIC and I am very comfortable with the care she is receiving. The cost is high, but I like having my children near me (we actually live in San Ramon and commute) so I can get to them quickly or visit during lunch. The teachers are great and I literally have 0 concern about the care my new daughter is given. All that being said, it is worth mention that the Center Director recently left after being in charge since the center was open (maybe 5 years or so--not sure about how long). The new Director has been in charge of Girten Hall (a student center) for a couple of years, I believe. Feel free to contact me to discuss further. But, if you get in, I would feel fortunate! Louise

Considering Clark Kerr Infant Center

2001

My husband and I are considering the Clark Kerr Infant Center for our as-yet unborn daughter who should be 4 mos. in August. We are interested in any comments, good or bad, from parents who have used this center. (There are currently no reviews from parents on the website.) Thank you. Lianna


My child has been at CKIC since she was 7 months old. I couldn't be happier with the care that she has gotten there. The key to good daycare is the people and at CKIC they have a knack for hiring wonderful teachers and student assistants who have given by daughter nothing but high quality, loving care. It's expensive though (but, from what I understand, the staff are relatively well-paid which, sadly, is unusual in the childcare profession). Also, there are a number of days throughout the year when the Center is closed for holidays or in-service training so be prepared to schedule your vacations accordingly. Margaret
My daughter started at the Clark Kerr Infant Center in August of last year, when she was three months old, and stayed there until early December. She was originally enrolled full time but we changed to part-time in the mornings because the afternoon teacher was a brand new hire and had never worked with infants. In my opinion she did not have enough experience to be solely responsible for six infants and I was not comfortable leaving my daughter there. In December the teachers switched shifts, and because of this, as well as two other problems, we withdrew our daughter altogether. A second problem stemmed from the fact that our daughter was 3-4 months younger than the other infants in her group. The other infants were quite mobile and bigger and as a result, she got her hair pulled, got knocked over, and got frightened of the other children. I did not feel that the staff was able to prevent this from happening. Finally, we were unhappy with the fact that our daughter was continuously sick since she started daycare. The other children also appeared to be sick a good deal of the time. I think that the policy for letting sick children attend was too lenient and that several other policy changes need to be made to reduce the level of illness (such preventing children who are symptomatic from sharing toys etc. with the other children, the staff washing hands between handling sick and healthy infants, and the staff working with either the infants or with the toddlers, but not going from one set of children to the next (to help prevent the spread of viruses). I addressed all of these concerns to the head teacher and admissions officer and received no reply. In all fairness, I must add that we had many great interactions with the teachers and staff there and that they did a wonderful job of getting to know our daughter (and all of the infants) and treating her as an individual. They were also very respectful of each parents individual wishes regarding the care of the infants. And several of the other parents there expressed to me that they were very happy with the care at the center. Genevieve
I think it is important to realize that childcare preferences vary from individual to individual. Maybe center-based care is not for you, particularly if you're concerned about the curious pokes and and not-always-so-gentle pats of other babies. Same with the inevitable viruses that run rampant in any childcare environment. My experience at CKIC is that they try their best to segregate slobbery toys but it is impossible to do it very effectively since babies have a way of snatching toys from one anothers' mouths. We were warned that our baby would get lots of colds and they were right! Staffing is an issue everywhere in the Bay Area and it has always been a problem in the childcare profession in particular. Talk to anyone in the field and they will tell you that staff turnaround is a serious problem in early childhood education. CKIC has had to deal with staffing crises just like everyone in the Bay Area and I suspect that finding qualified, experienced professional childcare providers is difficult no matter what type of childcare you choose to go with. Finally, I have always found the staff at CKIC to be open and approachable. They provide many opportunities to discuss any issues we may have.
Our son has been attending Clark Kerr Infant Center since January. We have been extremely pleased with the care he has received and strongly recommend the Center to other parents. Our son is about 4 months younger than the other infants at the Center and is the only one who does not crawl yet. But the caregivers have taken special care to make sure that our son is integrated into the group; as a result, he has taken much delight in watching and interacting with both the caregivers and the other babies. The caregivers have also been flexible and supportive in dealing with the individual needs of each infant. In sum, the environment in the Center is safe and warm. We recommend it highly. Terri and Eric
I heard that a recent letter in the UCB parents onl-line newsletter commented on dissatisfaction with the Clark Kerr Infant Care Center and as a participant in the program, I feel obliged to register my own opinion, which is the complete opposite. My first daughter, Naomi (14 months) has been in the infant room since last August and I could not be more pleased with everything about the Clark Kerr Center--how the program is managed, the care givers, the indoor and outdoor space available to them, and the overall care and treatment Naomi has been given. The facility is clean and safe, and well-stocked with developmentally appropriate toys and stimuli. I am also pleased with the center's philosophy regarding cribs and high chairs, and their encouragement of exploration. The other children in the Center are also a complete asset to my daughter's experience. It is wonderful that Naomi has the opportunity to interact with her peers and learn socialization skills and sharing. Everyone who works there from the Director to the students is completely attentive, professional, and trustworthy. I feel so lucky to have my daughter as part of their program and would recommend it highly to anyone who is lucky enough to be admitted and who is considering it as a child care option. I can't thank the campus enough for having the Clark Kerr Infant Care Center. I honestly, may not have returned to work, had it not been here. mbm
Announcement: Clark Kerr Infant Center (July 1999)

UCB Child Care Services is opening a new child care facility to serve primarily UC Berkeley faculty and staff families. The new Clark Kerr Infant Center will accept infants who are 3 - 24 months as of mid-August and will be licensed for 24 children. It will be a full-day (7:45 am - 5:30 pm), year round program, conforming to the UCB academic schedule of holidays, with 2-week vacations in December and August. The center is located on the Clark Kerr campus at 2900 Dwight Way, bldg. 5A. This will be a "interim" site, for probably 2 years, pending development of a more permanent facility elsewhere.

This developmental child care center features ample indoor and outdoor space allowing exceptional opportunities for cognitive, social-emotional, and physical growth. The staff to child ratio is 1:3.

The center's primary goal is to provide quality child care in a warm environment which attends to the emotional, physical, and educational growth of each child. A secondary commitment will be to facilitate research on early childhood development. Children (and their families) enrolled in the Infant Center may eventually be asked to participate in research programs administered by the UCB Institute of Human Development.

The monthly fees are $1100/ month for infants entering at 3 mos.-14 mos. and $1000/ month for children entering at 15-24 mos. Although this may sound expensive it will actually not quite cover costs, and is within market range for similar Bay Area programs with a 1:3 ratio. The University is initially subsidizing the program, and a special donor is providing much of the high start-up, building, and equipment costs needed to open a new facility. (It is hoped that at some point in the future scholarships or some sort of additional subsidies may be found to assist UCB staff/faculty families with lower incomes, but at this point no individual subsidies are available.)

The targeted start date for this program is AUGUST 23rd!! Because most families will already have childcare arrangements made at this point, we expect that (if all goes according to schedule) the program will open with some children on that date and add more within the following month or so. Visiting hours are scheduled for August 16th - 20th, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm each day. HOWEVER, PLEASE CALL ME AT 642-7031 or e-mail me ON MONDAY 8/16 TO VERIFY THESE HOURS. Because there is still work to be done on the building before it is ready, it is quite possible that the visiting hours and/or the start date could be delayed.

Children of faculty and staff of the University of California at Berkeley are prioritized for acceptance. Employees at the Office of the President or Lawrence Berkeley National Lab are also eligible to apply. (Student families and community families may also apply, but their applications will be considered after other applicants.)

Please call me (Randi) at the Child Study Center, 642-7031, for more information and applications - or e-mail: randice@uclink4.berkeley.edu If you provide a fax number I can get the information to you immediately. Also if you would like flyers to post in your department or give to friends, let me know.

We have accepted some children already, but many spaces are still open. If you are interested in a future start date, you can complete an application to be put on the wait list. There is no application fee. Early applications are accepted and advisable. Randi Roberts randice at uclink4.berkeley.edu
Office Manager/ Admissions
Harold E. Jones Child Study Center
(510) 642-7031


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