Albany After School Programs
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Albany After School Programs
Our son will be starting kindergarten this fall at Marin Elementary
(we hope) and I'm trying to sort out after-school options. The
choices are Tupelo (the after-school program at Marin), JCC, and
joining a nanny share.
Tupelo would be very convenient and is the least expensive option. It
would also provide an opportunity for him to get to know his
classmates better and root us into the neighborhood/community more.
But is it chaotic there in the afternoons? I believe my son might
thrive more with some structure.
JCC has a more structure and well-trained staff...but it's
significantly more expensive, we lose the connection to the community,
and my son will have to be bused.
Thoughts? Do any of you have experience with one or more of these
options and have insights into relative merits?
My children have been in Tupelo for a few years, and it has been a good
experience for them. From what I have seen, the Kindergartners are in their own
classroom for most of the day, but they also play with the older kids at recess.
They also learn Spanish, music and dance, and they do lots of crafts. They have
enjoyed it very much.
Happy Tupelo mom
I am interested in parents' experiences of Albany's after-school
options. I know the elementary schools offer on-site (or nearby)
after-school programs, including some specialized programs in Mandarin
and Spanish. Are these difficult to get into--I've heard of long
waitlists, but also from parents who have had no problem getting their
kids in. Any experiences with the City of Albany's Friendship Club?
My 4th grader has been in the after-school Mandarin program since he
entered Kindergarten. My family loves this program and it costs the same
as the regular after-school program. There is a long waiting list. If
you want this option, sign up now. Friends who have their kids in
Friendship Club say it is a lot of fun for the children. It isn't
structured, lots of games, movies, fun, etc. It is not difficult to get
in I've never heard of anyone not getting in if they sign up at the
beginning of the year.
One of the benefits of Albany elementary schools are the many after
school options. I would first see which school your child attends and
then see if you like the on site after school option. You should be able
to get a list of aftercare programs from the school office. I believe the
Y at Cornell has the only before school program. There is a Chinese
program at Cornell, but it does seem to have a long wait list. Other
programs are easy to get into to. My child was in the Y for some years,
but then moved to Friendship Club because he liked the counselors better.
The School District has before and after-school care at Marin and Ocean
View schools, run by the Albany Children's Center. Marin has a Spanish
Immersion program, before and after school. Ocean View and Cornell have
Mandarin Immersion programs, only after-school. You can find their
information on the District's website, or directly at the Albany
I'm thinking of moving to Albany for the schools there,
but would like to learn more about experiences parents
have had with the schools. Is after school care
available at the elementary schools, who runs it, and how
much does it cost?
We live in Albany and picked the JCC of the East Bay's
afterschool program, Center Stage. Our kids have been going
for several years, and we're very happy with the program and
the staff. They provide van service from the Albany
elementary schools to the North Berkeley location.
Contact Albany Children's Center, who runs the onsite after
school programs at Ocean View and Marin. There is a variety
of options as to # of days and hours available. ItC-s easier
to get info if you go to their office in UC Village, 800 Red
Oak Ave next door to the day care center. YMCA also has a
program at their site on Solano next to Cornell, and the
City of Albany has a program that is currently at Memorial
Park but will be moving to Ocean View Park where the teen
Happy Ocean View Parent
We work FT, and Albany K is only 3 hrs, so we will need a lot
of after care when my son starts K next year.
He is shy, emotionally sensitive, and slow to transition.
Academically he is very ready for K q can do the school work
and can focus, sit still, follow directions. But emotionally he
has lots of trouble with transitions and over-stimulating
environments. We still have many teary mornings at preschool
I'm looking for ideas from parents of similar kids about the
transition to K and especially after-care. Is it true that
public school after-care tends to be unstructured, with high
kid:teacher ratios and mixed ages? This would be my son's worst
nightmare! What other options do I have?
We are at Marin in the afternoon Kindergarten. If the schedule works for you, I
that the morning Tupelo on site might work for your situation -- with the
K program. With the exception of the first hour (when there are some older
--who leave by 9:30am), the morning Tupelo is only Kindergartner's and there is
very manageable child-teacher ratio. The activities are all in one room. They
play outside also. The teachers are well-liked, caring and organized and have
different crafts and toys available. The kids come at slighter different times
throughout the morning so I find that there is always a teacher or activity to
engage my son. I've been very happy. Marin Tupelo/Afternoon K Parent
My kids are starting Albany K next year. Can anyone give insight into
before or after school care? I've heard a lot about the YMCA program,
but am wanting to consider other options if they are out there. I'm
hoping that my kids will be going to Cornell, if that makes a
Thanks for taking the time to respond!
Thinking ahead to next year
The YMCA is located right next door to Cornell. My son
attended the YMCA before/after school since kindergarten even
though he has been attending Marin Elementary school. For him,
it was worth the walk; for your child, it could hardly be any
more convenient! Based on my research, the YMCA provides the
most nurturing and enriching before/after-school care in
Albany. My son is now in his fourth year, and he couldn't be
happier with the program! Every child's needs are different,
of course, but my family and many other families I know have
appreciated the responsible, warm, friendly atmosphere and the
connection with the amazing staff who work there.
there are programs through the albany children's center which is in the village
have sites at schools too, well at least i know they do at marin where my son went
(called tupelo). i was very happy with it, staff is great and its pretty
scale available too.
My kids tried Tupalo at Marin and the Y on Solano's aftercare in
K. Neither worked for us. My daughter found the Y overwhelming
with too many kids there and no place for a younger child to
retreat. She cried a lot. Tupalo was ok in the AM, but crowded
into a small space in the afternoon. Tupalo wasn't structured in
any way, which was a disappointment. Since Albany's K
program is only 3 hours and change long, our kids in K were
spending too much time in 'daycare'.
We got a babysitter and reduced our work schedule.
I'm wondering what options I have for extended care for an
Albany kindergardener. My son won't start until 2008, but I'm
beginning to wonder what I'm going to do, as I just learned that
a kindergardener's day is only 3.5 hours long...
-working albany mom
I am a Kindergarten teacher at Ocean View Elementary in Albany
(and the parent of a toddler). Our children have access to
before and after school care called CEDARS. I have worked in
several school systems, and I find the CEDARS care to go way
beyond the typical childcare duties. The children have lots of
time to play, but they also offer a quality early learning
program. For example, this year they did an author study about
Eric Carle, where the kids hear many books by this author, and
are currently rehearsing for a play version of the ''The Grouchy
Ladybug''. I am impressed with the head teacher who takes time to
work individually with children on whatever interests them,
whether it's reading or art or something else. I would encourage
you to call the CEDARS office and schedule an informal visit.
Many of my students have working parents, and while I wish they
didn't have to have such a long day at school, I'm pleased with
the quality of the program offered. Whenever I walk into their
room, the kids look happy and engaged. I hope that helps.
an Albany Teacher and a BPN parent
Albany kindergartners have several choices for after school
care, all with their own pros and cons. Tupelo is the on-site
care for Marin School (K-3rd grade), the YMCA on Solano has a
walk to program and they come pick the kids up to walk over
(from Cornell and Marin). Maples runs at the Villiage for
Ocean View kids. The JCC will pick up the kids in a van if
there are enough in the area to make it happen. Creative Play
Center is a pre-school/after school program in el cerrito that
a number of kids go to.
We used Tupelo and I have not been thrilled. The convenience
and familiarity is nice for the kids, but the program itself is
not great (though there might be a Spanish immersion program,
for which the teacher and program are much better). It's
large, chaotic, and in my experience the staff don't have great
insights into children. People who have afternoon
kindergarten, so their kids are alone with other
kindergarteners in the morning like it better. I would go
visit all the programs and see what you can see. It's amazing
how revealing these visits are. I have friends who LOVE the
JCC, having switched to that program from the Berkeley
afterschool at Oxford.
But rest assured, there are options, and it's not like pre-
school - you don't have to do it years in advance. You might
want to get on a wait list for Tupelo fairly early, though, as
that does fill up.
Starting next year, we are aiming to move to a babysitter as
that will work better for our family. Once you have two kids
in school it's probably cheaper or certainly not more expensive
to have a babysitter pick them up if you can find one you like.
Another option for kids in afternoon kindergarten in Albany is
to study Spanish with a small group of kids in the morning.
Our son will be in afternoon kindergarten at Marin School, and
if we get five other families to join us we will host a morning
Spanish class / playgroup at our house. The teacher is a
wonderful woman, Rosy Mendoza, who has been teaching Spanish to
little kids for years. She is a credentialed teacher in
Mexico. Families can drop off their kids at our house at
around 9:00 am, and Rosy will walk everyone over to Marin
School at 11:50. No prior knowledge of Spanish is required.
If you are interested feel free to email me for more info.
We'll get the class together in the late summer, once everyone
has their school assignment.
we are considering moving to either albany or piedmont for the
schools. we can probably afford half a run-down shack in each but
we are tired of paying the privat school fees and not knowing
anyone in our community. As a working mom, i am as interested in
the after school options for the young elementary school kids as
I am in the academics. My kids are shy and dont do well with
large, loud, full rooms (especiallly after their charming, small
private school lives). The after school choice might actually
drive our decision so any advice or suggestion or experience you
can give me to help guide us, I would really appreciate. My kids
are between 4-9. Also if you think I am nutz, that is good to
hear too. we maybe overlooking something obvious here. thanks so
albany or piedmont wannabe
My experience with the Albany afterschool program is from the
past year and a half. My son is at Marin school which has an
onsite program called Tupelo. As far as I can see it is basically
just babysitting. Mostly the kids play outside on their own, and
they may have some art project inside. They have started a
Spanish program within Tupelo where each grade K-3 is with
Spanish teacher for an hour. Great idea but poor implementation
and next to no communication with parents. There are no other
enrichment aspects of the program. I am glad there is a safe
place that my child has to just play after school but it is
pretty lame overall.
let's push for a better program in Albany
We've got kids in Albany's Marin school, and I am not that happy with
afterschool care available in Albany. The Albany Y offers a good
program, but it's
hectic as there are a lot of kids enrolled. And, I don't know much
about the on site
after school at Marin, cuz it's full and very hard to get into unless
one starts in
Kindergarten. Albany's community center offers after school care too.
comment on it. Don't have experience there.
BTW, check out Albany's elementary school hours. They may be shorter
Piedmont's, thus affecting the amount of time your child's in after
ahhhh ... the hot topic of Piedmont and Albany schools ... I
could not resist. Like many broke Albany renters, we too had
started as UC Berk grads (in UC family housing), loved the
school district, and decided to stay in the community. We are
Ocean View Elem fans. We love the culture of the school and
agree that it is worth renting a smaller home just to be here.
Not a shack, but darn close. The faculty at Ocean View is
wonderful, the families are culturally diverse and involved. I
know families with children at each of the 3 Albany elem
schools, and all of them love their school.
That being said, I am not sure Ocean View is right for you if
you are looking for on-sight afterschool care that is quiet.
The program for K-1 is called Cedars and is a part of the
Albany Children's Center (also part of AUSD I think). You
mentioned that you did not want your children in ''large, loud,
full rooms'' and at times that is how our experience was with
Cedars. I actually cannot imagine an afterschool program being
much different, they are in high-demand everywhere.
Now are child is in 3rd so we no longer use it. For kids grade
2-3 they have their extention called Maples down the street. We
were happy with Cedars and it was only a little chaotic when
all of the children were together. I think they had a nice
balance of making small groups for library, story-time, outside
play, and indoor play. The staff was wonderful as well, which I
think is more important than crowdedness.
These programs really do evolve and change as the years go by.
I encourage you to go over there and take a look. I would be
suprised if anyone had an afterschool program that did not have
its crazy moments. Good luck to you.
My son is in the afterschool program ''Friendship Club'' sponsored
by the City of Albany and held in the Memorial Park building. He
used to be in Tupelo, the afterschool program at Marin, and it
was very unimpressive, if not downright unpleasant for him. The
supervision seemed to be minimal, as a kid took some of his
things, and the teachers tried to claim that he had made this up.
All in all, a very bad experience, and we have friends who moved
their kids from Tupelo for similar reasons. Also, during breaks
the kids from Tupelo were moved to the Cedars in University
Village, which was in my view pretty much a disaster. Low and
unfriendly supervision, no structure at all, etc. On the other
hand, we have been very satisfied with Friendship Club. Brad,
who manages the program, is very organized and the kids love him.
They can do homework there or play games, and in general the
kids seem to be happy and well supervised. It is also reasonable
happy with Friendship Club
Editor Note: reviews also received for Piedmont Afterschool Programs
Our son will attend kindergarten in the Albany public schools
this coming fall. We'd prefer Marin , simply because it's
geographically closest to our house, but understand we may be
assigned elsewhere. We do prefer afternoon K and I gather that
our chances of getting our preference are pretty good since most
parents prefer morning.
My main questions are, assuming he attends afternoon K at Marin,
how do we register him for the onsite before-school childcare
program? Is this part of the school registration or a separate
process/application? When do I need to do it?
Second question, do we want to sign up for this? What's the
program like? Any reviews or comments would be welcome, as well
as suggested alternatives for care from about 9:00 or 9:30 a.m.
until the K class begins.
And finally, what if he is instead assigned to Cornell or Ocean
View? What are the morning care options there?
It is my understanding that the before and after school care
offered to Kindergarten students in the AUSD is offered only at
the Albany Children's Center. See ASUD website at:
There is no ''on-site'' school care at any of the elementary schools.
You were misinformed.
former albany parent
1) How to register for childcare at Marin. Yes, it is two separate
processes. To learn
more about Kindergarten & registration for that, attend the parents
night, which is, I
think, Feb. 15. Call the Albany school district offices for more info.
registration for childcare (it's called Tupelo at Marin), was during
the summer. Talk
to the Albany Children's Center (in U.C. Village) for more on that.
2) Should you attend: I have an afternoon kindergartener, and have been
the morning care at Tupelo. My daughter describes it as being like
number of activities offered with the child choosing what to do. I
think that loose
structure for part of the day provides a nice balance to the greater
kindergarten. The only kids there in the morning will be
kindergarteners: those from
your child's class and the other afternoon class. It has given my child
a chance to
get to know some of the kids in the other class and also time to play
with her own
classmates in a less structured setting than the classroom. I see it
as a good
opportunity for my child to solidy some of her school friendships. We
are signed up
for just two days/week. The arrival time is very flexible. Kids eat
lunch at the end of
the morning and can either get a school lunch or bring their own.
There was a wrong post on this issue -- Albany Children's Center
is NOT the only before-care option for Albany kindergarteners.
Marin has an onsite program called Tupelo for before and
aftercare. Many children at Cornell attend Kids' Club, at the Y
next door to the school (other Albany kids attend Kids' Club as
well). There is also a program attached to Ocean View.
My child is starting Kindergarten in Albany in the Fall. For
those of you who have Kindergarteners in Albany, what are you
doing for afterschool care, and are you happy with it? From the
archives it looks like there have been somewhat mixed reviews of
the on-site care offered through the school district. Also - am
I already too late to be trying to figure this out??
The Kindergarten aftercare program is very important, esp in
Albany sin ce the Kindergarten day is so short. My child goes to
Ocean View and is in the on-site aftercare program there
(Cedars), and I think it is excellent...in fact, one of the
reasons I chose OV is because I liked the on-site aftercare
there the best.
The teachers are excellent and really know my child. The kids
are kept busy and have a lot of activities from which to
choose. They have a really nice area right next to the K
classrooms. If you haven't decided which Albany school to
choose, I highly suggest visiting the afterschool programs as
well as the classrooms to get a feel for for them.
My daughter attends Kindergarten at OceanView School in Albany.
Her older sister went to the onsite aftercare called Cedars and
all of the other aftercare programs offered through the Albany
Childrens' Center in UC Village and had a great time. Cedars
uses the large pla yground at the school and holds reading and
journaling activities, computer time, art and games. The
teachers are all very experienced. However, our second daughter
found it a bit too busy and crowded for her. She had a problem
being chased and pushed down by some of the boys and the
teachers did not seem to be able to stop it. They use good
conflict solving skills to have the children work out issues,
but our child did not seem to get it to work with some of the
kids. After a few incidents and after she continued to complain
about the program, we decided to switch her to Creative Play
Center, CPC. Other children love Cedars, but it was just not a
good fit for us this time. CPC is run in the basement of a house
on Portland. They have pre-school in the morning, and then a van
goes around to different schools to pick up K-5 children. It is
a smaller place and has a big backyard for playtime.
It's not too late, but there's no time like the present! If
your child attends Cornell - a fabulous school in many ways,
and the Kindergartens really couldn't be better - the Kids Club
on Solano, run by the Albany YMCA, is really quite fine. I
read a post saying that it's more expensive than other after
school centers (surprising - make sure you compare carefully as
centers charge in such differently convoluted ways), but there
is a scholarship program that you do not need to be
impoverished to apply for. No place is perfect - especially
when you're sending your kindergartener to school for the first
time! But this one has a great sense of fun, camraderie, joy,
family, etc. etc. The kids like belonging to it, they love the
counselors, & vice versa. The staff comes to pick up your
child after school at the door of th eir classroom (1st grade on
they meet at the tables on the playground) and walks them only
a few steps to the Solano Center. On nice days they spend a
lot of time at the school playground. So it's really like an
on-site center. Also, they take groups that want to pay the
extra fees (minimal) to gymnastics classes & so forth at the Y
a couple blocks away, and I think they've added a few classes
at the site - maybe dance & art? Of course they pick kids up
from other schools as well - they're very into walking! BTW,
they only go from K to 3rd grade on Solano, for 4th & 5th they
walk Cornell kids up to Marin. We've had a child at Kids
Club for almost all of the past 6 years. Our daughter's in 1st
now & she's very attached to it. Feel free to email me for
Does anyone know of alternative before and afterschool programs
offered to Albany USD? The YMCA provides a program but it's
extremely expensive and I would like to see if there are other
There are several options for Albany USD parents. The Y is the
most expensive. We opted the first few years for the on-site
care at Marin, but we found that it was disorganized in some
respects and that our child simply wasn't happy there. He
complained that kids were bullying, etc., without adequate
adult intervention. We also found that the people in the
administrative office were not good about effective billing,
communication, etc. Though now there is a new office manager,
so things may improve. And I didn't meet any kids or parents
who liked the staff supervision at the Cedars site (University
Village, used during school breaks when the individual school
sites were not operating). So we took him out and placed him
in the Friendship Club at Memorial Park. So far we have be! en
very pleased with the organization and supervision there, and
he has not had complaints. Friendship Club and the onsite care
programs are comparable in cost, less than the Y. But
Friendship club does not offer before-school care. The onsite
If I were you I would talk to other parents in your child's
class and find out what they do and how they feel about it.
You can also find out which of your child's friends may be
enrolled in a program, so as to place him/her with a buddy or
friendship club parent
I am in the process of trying to put together public Kindergarten and
after-care (or before-care) for my daughter who will start K in the fall,
and am struggling (I think at least one or two of my other friends in the
same position are also at their wits end. Kindergarten in Albany is only
THREE hours, and all of the after-care situations seem huge and not very
impressive. It feels like they are basically kid warehouses. Any
suggestions? Any possibilities of smaller settings?
Re aftercare: As the parent of a future kindergartener this fall I
have not been happy with the aftercare choices I have seen. A list of
choices is available from the district. They all seem to have in
common large numbers of kids and a feel like "summer camp" (lining up,
taking roll, counselors yelling to get kids attention, kids coming and
going at different times).
For older kids staying 3 hours this could be ok, for young
kindergartners who I think need small numbers, a routine environment
and less chaos/more attention...well I'm not happy at all with the
choices. Visit them and share your impressions. The worst part of
all is that you don't find out til June or July where your child will
attend, and then (I've been told) not definitely until 1-2 weeks
before school, meaning you may need to scramble for arrange care at
the last minute (although the aftercare people say they expect this
and work with you to accomodate it). Personally, although private
school is expensive, I am of the opinion that it may be worth it for
one more year just to avoid this aftercare mess. (My daughter is in a
private pre-K program so could continue into private kindergarten
there if we choose).
My own feeling is that unfortunately Kindergarten is
the hardest year for deciding what to do because of the aftercare issue.
With only 3 hours of school you may find your choice has to be what
session of kindergarten (am or pm) you need, and that will dictate what
school and what teacher you wind up with. When you register you can
state a preference, but the district tells you up front that you may not
get your choice of session or school, even if your choice is your closest
school. This is because the new 20kids per class has wrecked havoc with
the space available at different schools. Keep in mind that when picking
an elementary school you are choosing not just for Kindergarten but K-5.
If you want your child to walk to school with you and have playmates that
are close to where you live, you may prefer to request your local
school...but since Albany is really small it may not be such a big deal
to go to any of the 4 elementary schools. Some people like the small
feel of Vista and McGregor since they only go to grade 2 (funneled to
Cornell and Marin in higher grades). You just have to visit and get a
feel yourself. Also I would urge you to meet the principal and
administration in your school. If you are unhappy with any aspect of
your child's classroom or teacher these are the people you will need to
deal with. Do you feel like they are responsive? In my limited
observing I have seen good teaching at Albany schools. The differences
between public and private can sometimes be in the teaching styles and
sizes of classrooms and the physical facilities and amenities (extra
options like music, science). Also, the kids in the public schools have
perhaps more diversity in race, income and special needs.
Albany Homework Club for Grades 1-3
Here is info about an after school program being offered by
Creative Play Center:
Program includes: cooking, art, science projects, community outings, computer
After school M-F, open till 6pm
After school transportation provided (to Albany residents) - open to kids in
other surrounding cities, just no transportation from non-Albany schools
Contact: Creative Play Center (CPC) Homework Club at 524-9399
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