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After School Programs
Q&A about K-12 After School
Specific Programs with Reviews
My child is entering the second grade on Monday and I am absolutely floored by what we will be doing every Wednesday. Their school announced that dismissal on Wednesday will now be at 12:30pm. I am lucky and privileged to be a stay at home parent but that is just a LONG DAY for us to fill. We can't afford aftercare on a regular basis, nor any other expensive classes. I also have a toddler so I need to do something age appropriate for both of them. Does anyone have suggestions? Yes we can go to playgrounds or the library but I'm hoping to find something more structured that is a set function on my calendar. We are in Oakland but would be willing to travel within a reasonable distance. As an aside it blows my mind that it's just an accepted thing that kids aren't in school full time 5 days a week. Thanks in advance for the suggestions. Frustrated
Our daughter will be starting kindergarten in Albany, most likely Cornell or Marin, next year. My husband and I both work, so she'll need to be in an afterschool program until 5:30pm. We really like the JCC - we think our daughter would benefit from the structure the program provides and would enjoy the different classes. But, I'm concerned that socially this would be suboptimal because she'll have less exposure to her classmates than she would in a program like Tupelo or the YMCA. So, I'm thinking of signing her up for the JCC three days and week, and for Tupelo or YMCA for the other two, but I'm wondering if that may be too much. (She's been a preschool until 5:30- 6pm for three years, so she's used to a full day schedule). Has anyone done this, or has any insights? Also would appreciate feedback on Tupelo vs YMCA, as we haven't decided on our first choice of school yet and are pretty much on the fence on the merits of Marin vs. Cornell. Thanks! anon
My oldest did the Berk JCC in third grade from Marin/AUSD for afterschool (Tupelo was full), then went to the Albany YMCA afterschool program for 4th and 5th. My take: the JCC offers great enrichment programs (many with extra fee) and a great facility, but you pay for bus service and your child spends a chunk of time on a bus everyday. It was almost an hour by the time the bus went to all 3 AUSD elementaries and Kensington Hilltop and back to the JCC. (Worth checking if they still do this route). It is a very big program and was a bit overwhelming for my child.
My youngest enjoyed Tupelo. It offers a fun Spanish immersion program and is onsite, which makes it easy to build friendships with schoolmates. It only serves grades K-3 though, then you have to figure out A/S care for 4th and 5th grades offsite.
The YMCA afterschool is well run, but rather basic. For the upper elementary grade program (the only part we experienced) I liked that they really focused on getting homework done, which helps preserve family time. They offer several A/S sports options which is nice. They consolidated all 3 AUSD elementaries on one campus so kids were met at their AUSD elem school by a YMCA counselor and walked to the hosting campus.
Good luck in your decision! Afterschool Parent
- your choice of after school programs from year to year is easy to flex and change - it's not at all like changing schools. You can simply sign up for one of the programs this year, different one(s) for summer and consider whether your child would enjoy the variety of 2 programs next year.
- even though your child is accustomed to being in the care of others until 5:30-6pm, the transition to, and intellectual demands of kindergarten can be quite a leap for some kids. Think about the last time you made a big transition, such as changing jobs. In your first month or so, did you feel like your brain was full by the end of the day? The change from preschool to kindergarten was intense for my little guy. He met a new group of kids & teachers at school, and different new group of kids & teachers at his after school program. He had to learn all kinds of new rules, teaching styles, names, personalities, playground etiquette and politics. Plus he lost a much-needed nap/rest period and learned how to take the school bus, all while trying to absorb new academic skills - math, reading, writing, language, following instructions, etc. I had to move his bedtime up to 7:15 due to tired-kid meltdowns. I can't imagine adding one more social challenge to the mix.
I'm trying to come up with a long term budget and plan for the next few years, to the extent possible. I will be returning to work full time either this year of the following one. Right now my son is in a great SF public school with free after care. We are considering moving to the east bay if we need to, to reduce costs. Do the Berkeley or Oakland public schools offer free after care? If so, is there an income qualification? Or are there only some schools that offer this?
I've been poking around on-line, and can't seem to find an answer - sorry if I'm asking something that I could easily look up myself, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now by all the details and would be so grateful for any assistance this community is willing to give. Is your child in a great after school program? If so, which one, and what is the cost, if anything? Thanks! puzzled
I've never heard of free aftercare that didn't have an income qualification. Programs like Bear Cubs (or the similar Adventure Time at other nearby schools) run about $5 per hour (maybe a bit more; it's been a while since I priced them). Depending on when you pick up, you could be looking at 50-70 hours of care per month. Carrie
Hi there, We are trying to figure out what we can afford to pay for a new house when the kids go to elementary school. My husband and I both work so I figure we will be paying for after care, and summer camp. Can anyone give me a general idea of how much these things cost? Or, where to go to find out? We will probably be living in Oakland or Berkeley when the time comes (but could be Alameda, Albany or Kensington too). Thank you!
Summer camp cost varies wildly. Adventure Time or some such unstructured, play-based camp is quite inexpensive at, say $200 per week for full-time care (9:00 - 5:00 every day), and charges by the hour (fewer scheduled hours = lower cost). Something like Sarah's Science can be almost double that, depending on when you register, and if you need to stay after 3:00 pm. A really all-out camp that offers everything from swimming and boating to horseback riding, like Roughing It (even picks your kid up in a bus), can cost almost $1000 per week for full day ($3600 per 4-week session). There are so many options here it makes your head spin; every year it's something of a challenge to get all my son's favorites scheduled. Karen
I'm wondering what is fair compensation for picking up an extra child after elementary school one day a week and bringing them to my house (or the park or...) until the child's parent(s) are able to pick them up when they get home from work, around 5:30 or so. I'm talking one day a week every week for several months. I did this for a while last year and it was never really reciprocated. While it was not terribly inconvenient, I felt a bit taken for granted.
This year, the other family offered to exchange so they would take both kids one day, and I would take them both another day. However, my child has tutoring on the day they offered childcare, so that plan didn't work for us. When asked about taking their child on the other day (basically continuing what I did last year), I took a few days to respond, because I felt uneasy about the one-sidedness of the arrangement. When I did give an anwer, I said yes and that I would like to be paid something. The response I got was surprise and then a withdrawal of the request (since I didn't seem to want to do it).
I would like to know if anyone out there is doing this sort of thing for free and/or what people think would be fair payment. To clarify, I did take the kids to Tilden once in a while, but more typically they just came over to our house, had a snack, did their home work, and then played. reality checking
I think it's fair for you to ask for payment for taking care of someone else's child on a regular basis if there is no reciprocal arrangement. As a working mom, I do ask SAHMs for small favors now and then, but I would never expect free babysitting on a regular basis. Working Mom
I am a working mom and learned in the past few years (much later than I should have) to reciprocate back and forth to coordinate rides to and from sports and stuff. What I have discovered is how WONDERFUL this arrangement is and how much good karma/community/friendship is produced! Last year I had to rely on someone with no hope of reciprocating, but then....this year our situation changed and I will be the sole driver week after week for them. I occasionally wonder why I'm doing the lion's share, and then lo and behold, I am chagrined to find myself on the receiving end. Life is not tit for tat... it is much better! Anon
I'm happy to have kids over for playdates but generally with the expectation that there is occasional reciprocation. I am always willing to help someone, friend or acquaintance, in occasional need (running late, doctor's appt, emergency etc). But, to expect someone to take your child every week without any form of reciprocation really strikes me as taking advantage. There are exceptions, of course, when the kids and/or moms are very close but it certainly doesn't sound like is/was your situation.
Yes, maybe it does ''take a village'' but it shouldn't always be the same villagers who are doing the lion's share! Yes, maybe what comes around, goes around. Yes, paying it forward is a nice thing to do. I'm in favor of all of that, but it would be great if others also had the same willingness to help out when needed. SAHM who is not a doormat
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