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Editor Note: The JCC in No. Oakland opened in 2011. Reviews below that are prior to that date refer to Olam Yeladim afterschool program which operated at a different site.
Re: After-School Care: BUSD school programs v. JCC
Hi, I was massively confused about afterschool programs two years ago when we were applying to South Zone kindergartens. I am sure some of it was anxiety about the impending switch to elementary school but mostly it just wasn't clear what program was what (and they were different at different schools as you point out and add to that we weren't sure what school we would end up at). In the end we heard enough so-so reviews of all the BUSD afterschool programs (i.e. sort of glorified daycare) that we decided to sign up with the Oakland JCC so we would be assured of knowing where our daughter would be for afterschool even if we didn't know what school she would be at and that it would be a solid program. We chose the Oakland branch because it is a lot closer to our house. We've been very happy there, our daughter has made good friends, the diverse staff is sweet and are able to concentrate on activities as opposed to running around chasing after kids and they have some good options for classes (chugim). There is also a nice community feeling to the place which is enhanced by Parents Night Out evening programs (where kids can watch a movie on a Saturday night while the parents have a date!), community Shabbat events, etc. I love that there is recognition and celebration of Jewish holidays and traditions (but not so much so that non-Jewish kids would feel left out I don't think but not sure about that). I don't regret one bit that we chose the non-school program and am glad that my daughter will get to go there for years with some of the same kids. Also, the new director (Stan Berrin) is a sweetheart and I'm sure would be happy to give you a tour and discuss any details you are curious about. Oakland JCC Mom
Re: After School Programs for Sequoia Kindergartners?
My daughter goes to the Oakland JCC with some kids that attend Sequoia. The JCC picks them up at school and brings them to the afterschool program. They seem to have a program that suits different kinds of kids and there are opportunities to be more active or more quiet, etc. We chose it because we thought the program at our daughter's school wasn't that great and she's been very happy there. And you don't have to be Jewish to feel welcome. JCC Mom
Our daughters love the JCC afterschool program in Oakland (510-595-9222). They're more on the shy side, so their onsite afterschool program was a bit overwhelming to them. The caring/nurturing staff at the JCC welcomed them and helped them feel comfortable and happy there. The JCC has a low child/staff ratio and the kids and teachers all know each other well. If you are looking for an option that is in contrast to the survival-of-the fittest option available at school, the JCC is a great choice. The kids get to select from a broad range of activities to get involved with, from piano lessons and swimming, to arts/crafts, to sports/play and even homework help. The center also picks the kids up from school (super convenient) and takes them to the facility. Plus ... they offer a great ''school's out'' program for the kids on school holidays (OUSD administrative closures, Thanksgiving break, etc.). Some of the destinations they've gone to are the SF Zeum, SJ Tech Museum, Ice Skating, Lawrence Hall of Science. We appreciate the community programs (dinners, parents night-out, holiday celebrations) that bring parents, kids and teachers together. We also appreciate that the program welcomes diversity and cross-cultural openness! Jason - Oakland Parent
Re: Hillcrest: Adventure Time or JCC Aftercare?
I don't have any feedback about Hillcrest AT but my son has been at the JCC afterschool program in Oakland for 2 years and it has been great. The counselors are great. Lots of enrichment programs are offered (arts and crafts, drama, sports, cooking). When my son was in K he was picked up at school in the van and taken to the afterschool site. We never had a problem with it and it felt very safe. (Now its close enough to his school that he walks with a counselor to the new site.) He does ride the van occasionally if the weather is bad or for fieldtrips. We have been very happy with the program, the community, the communication with parents and our son loves it. He is continuing there next year. cl
Re: Afterschool Care at Thornhill
Our daughter attends the Jewish Community Services aftercare program, known as Olam Yeladim (OY), and we are very happy with it. The most impressive aspect to me, as a parent and educator, is the attention that is given to children's development of social and play skills. Staff really get to know and enjoy each child as an individual. It is a plus that some of those outside programs (such as ice-skating and aikido) are offered so that children of working parents can experience them at a reasonable hour of the day, but the-on site clubs are also varied and creative. The kids sign up for activitites that rotate every 10 weeks or so. I think my daughter's favorite so far was the ''Hogwarts'' club, where kindergarteners and first graders played elaborate imaginative games based on the Harry Potter series. OY also offers full-day programming on days when Oakland Unifed is closed. A Happy OY parent
JCC Extended Care in Oakland - Does this still exist? I am looking for extended care for a afternoon Kindergartener at Chabot and this was on a list I got. I've called a few times with no answer. Any information on that, or other extended care for k-ers at Chabot would be gratefully received. Jonah
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