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A World of Peace (Berkeley, CA)

Afterschool & Day Camp

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Summer Camps & School Breaks > A World of Peace



What is your favorite Berkeley afterschool program?

May 2012

Hi All: What are your favorite after-school programs? I have 2 kids in Berkeley Elementary schools, and would like to know your experiences with these programs. Looking for after-school care 4-5 days a week, where the kids can get directly to the care without me. I need care until about 6. Alex, father of 2


I would like to wholeheartedly recommend A World of Peace Afterschool Program at Live Oak Park. I have a 3rd grader who has been attending since Kindergarten (my 7th grader also attended while she was in elementary school). We followed Karen Cagen, the director, from the JCC to A World of Peace because she really and truly understands what kids need from an afterschool program and how to make it happen.

Karen Cagen has over 30 years of experience working with children and the young adults she hires as staff. With A World of Peace, she has managed to achieve the perfect balance between the much wanted free time my children need after being in school-structured academic activities all day long and some structure and the staff attention they need to feel safe and play. There are plenty of activities offered throughout the afternoons every day for the children if they want to participate. And, for those who would rather play ball, jump rope, color, play board games, read, do homework, or just hang out, there is always a warm and attentive counselor to help make it happen. The Kindergarteners even have their own dedicated staff person!

Another skill Karen brings to her program is the talent to hire and keep wonderful staff! Karen has a knack for finding warm, playful, responsive, energetic, and committed staff whom my girls have loved over the years. Furthermore, Karen closely trains and supervises her counselors and has regular staff meetings with them so that they understand each child and can respond individually to his or her needs. This kind of individualized attention has been so wonderful for my girls in the afternoons and not something I have ever seen at my kids' BUSD aftershcool program.

Another great benefit of A World of Peace is that it is open whenever the schools are closed for holidays, Winter and Spring breaks, staff development days, etc. This has been a life-saver for me as a working parent who can't stay home for all those Monday holidays or two for two weeks in December. On those 'Holiday' days, A World of Peace has fabulous field trips to amazing locations in the Bay Area (Bowling, skating, swimming, Cherry Picking, Arcades, Rock Climbing, etc.).

A world of Peace also strives to help kids think about their world and those in it. The Staff helps create a community where the children resolve conflicts, peacefully and consider others (they even have a monthly Giving Project' where the children collect items to send to kids in-need all over the globe). I really appreciate that my children are encouraged to think about the world beyond their own backyard.

Finally, A World of Peace has been taking the kids swimming once-a-week this Spring and my daughter loves it so much that she is willing to miss her beloved softball games so she can stay at A World of Peace and swim. Whether my child is in a pool at the end of the day or playing at Live Oak Park, she is always happy when I come to pick her up. This peace of mind I have knowing my kids are happy and safe is worth the price of admission! Abby


A World of Peace afterschool for 1st grader?

May 2012

I have a first grader, don't know yet if he is going to Albany or Berkeley schools. Have anybody heard of ''A World of Peace'' afterschool? any feedback please. anon


My son started attending A World of Peace in Live Oak Park as a kindergartner in the late fall of 2008, since he did not like the after-school program at his school. He liked the program from the start. Karen is very kid-oriented, supportive and inclusive. He thrives in the park setting, a program with fewer kids than the program at school, better kids/staff ratio and great side-line activities that they do during the afternoons: soccer, Spanish, cooking, woodworking, clowning workshop, movies on rainy days, etc. It suffices to say that he is still there (now on 3rd grade), and when we have a holiday such as Malcom X coming up, that is the preferred choice as a day camp! I was a little worried on the first few weeks that he needed to take the bus as an new/incoming K child (now staff picks them up at school and drive/walk to Live Oak Park depending on the weather, a nice way to unwind from school). As they arrive Karen gathers everyone (circle) at the beginning of the afternoon to make a plan, talk about their day or what they raise for discussion, little kids are just as important and supported as older kids, there is staff support for homework, great snacks (that the cooking team sometimes provides!) and occasionally a BBQ to celebrate Friday end of the week.

You can't go wrong with A World of Peace. It is a wonderful place with the right balance of all the things that matter to our kids. e-mail if you want to know more. Or stop by for a visit with Karen in the afternoons at the park, her number is 510-292-0263 Cynthia


My son is enrolled full time in A World of Peace afterschool program. He is currently in kindergarden at LeConte Elementary. We were very concerned about finding him the right afterschool program this year, especially given how short the K day is (at LeConte they get out at 1:25, so that afterschool day is almost as long as the school day!). Also, he had been in a small preschool (only 12 kids in his class) and so we wanted to find a smaller, more intimate program for him. We also wanted a mixed-age environment, because he loves to play with older kids. We wanted a place that would allow for a mix of unstructured and structured activities. Finally, we also wanted a program that would complement what he gets at school (we didn't want more ''school'' after school). We found all of these things and more in A World of Peace. During the first few weeks one of the staff works directly with the kindergardeners (this year there were 4ish full time kids), so that they get a lot of attention when they need it. Over time, the kids have started playing more based on interest than on age. Some afternoons my son plays wall ball or four-square with some of the older kids. Every day they have a different structured activity (arts & crafts, cooking, woodworking, magic) but there is still plenty of time for free play. The director, Karen, also has a lovely yellow lab and my son loves to throw her ball and pet her.

I also really appreciate that the program stresses the values we all need to make the world a nice place to live. On Thursdays Karen announces the ''Peacenik of the week'' by getting the kids to guess who the peacenik is. They all nominate the other kids, saying things like ''because he/she has been nice, has included, has shared, etc.'' Over time I've seen my son pick up on this language (especially of trying to include rather than exclude other kids in his play.

We couldn't be happier with the program. The other day I pulled my son out of school to observe a religious holy day, and he insisted that I take him to A World of Peace afterwards because, in his words, ''BUT I LOVE A WORLD OF PEACE!'' Enough said!!! http://www.aworldofpeace.info/ Erin


My two children have both attended World of Peace since the start of this afterschool program. I've always felt totally confident that they are in a loving environment with lots of individual attention when they want or need it, but also the freedom to explore and play in a more unstructured format. Every day when I pick my son up, I find him deep in imaginative play with the wide range of grade levels represented in the program. I definitely recommend Karen's program! salasin
My kids began attending A World of Peace while in kindergarten, and I am very grateful to have them in such a unique special program. They enjoy where they are, what they do, and who they're with. The Live Oak Park setting is ideal for an after school program; it's a great community facility and a happening place. A World of Peace provides structured activities, which include cooking, wood working, as well as arts and crafts. The kids range in age from K through 5th grade, and all ages interact with each other. All kids get individual attention from the counselors who interact and play with the kids as does Karen Cagan, the program's director, who actively teaches kids social interaction and conflict resolution skills.

The things I've mentioned are not provided by our school's after school program. Kids are grouped by grade level, there aren't many organized activities, there are many kids per counselor, and the counselors often sit together and socialize while barking orders at kids on the playground. Berkeley Parent


April 2012

I am writing to recommend A World of Peace Afterschool program at Live Oak Park (N. Berkeley). My son, who is a kindergardener at LeConte Elementary, has been at AWOP during this school year. Our experience has been excellent. We love the fact that he gets to spend his afternoons in the beautiful Live Oak Park and in a mixed-age environment. We find it to be the perfect mix of structured and unstructured time. We also appreciate that the program stresses citizenship values (sharing, including, kindness, thinking of others, etc.). We are so happy with the program and highly recommend it to families looking for part or full time afterschool care - it serves kids from both Albany and Berkeley schools. Erin


Jan 2012

Re: Afterschool Program in North Berkeley for 3rd grader

our daughter loves AWOP (a world of peace) and has been attending many years. The staffing ratio is 6 kids to one counselor which is the highest of any afterschool program we looked at. It's also in Live Oak which has more open space than any aftercare spot around. We're very happy with it. b.


My son has attended A World of Peace at Live Oak Park for four years now. It's a great program, different than any other program out there. It offers a safe, nurturing environment for kids as well as offering a lot of fun things to do like woodworking and cooking. For us it's the perfect balance of structured vs. free play time. The director Karen Cagen considers the group of kids a community, and they gather daily to talk about ''factoids,'' (cool facts that she shares with them) or to discuss how they as a group can help others (they collected money and goods to send to victims of the Haiti earthquake.) Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like more information. kw
I have two third graders in the World of Peace (AWOP) program. They are picked up at the Live Oak bus stop by AWOP staff. My children love it, and it is a great resource for our family. Low staff to children ratio, different activities each day such as cooking and wood working, field trips on school holidays, and the director really knows and understands each child in the program. World of Peace parent
My son is a 3rd grader and in his 3rd year at A World of Peace After School Program (AWOP). There are many positive things I can say about the program, but what jumps to mind is the 3rd grade playground culture at his school. The boys who like to compete in sports now aggressively argue, insult or mock each other at every juncture, and they do with adult profanity and hostile tones. Many kids are too intimidated to play sports in this milieu; but not my son, he's very athletic so he's in the thick of it.

In contrast, when I pick up my son at A World of Peace I'm likely to find him playing a game of spoons with kids ranging from K to 5th grade and they're all having a blast. Often there's a game of wall ball in progress with a line of kids waiting their turn. If conflicts arise between kids, AWOP's director Karen Cagan gets involved. Karen knows how to listen to kids, how to talk to kids, and how to get kids to talk to each other. AWOP goes far beyond after school care. The program teaches kids how to play cooperatively and resolve conflict, and I really value this. Berkeley parent


Oct 2010

Re: Looking for after-school care in N. Berkeley
A World of Peace after school program is at Live Oak Park. It's run by Karen Cagen, apeacecamp@gmail.com 292-0263. It's a wonderful program that I can't say enough good things about, and every other parent I've talked to feels the same way. The kids love it. I consider Karen to be a wonderful resource and presence in my kids lives. There are several other recommendations in the BPN archives which attest to Karen's abilities, the quality of the program's activities, and its emphasis on teaching cooperative social skills. To what others have said I would add that Karen hires skilled young adult counselors who organize games, play with the kids, mediate arguments, etc., and most importantly give the kids attention. On most holidays and all the other days that BUSD schools are closed, Karen offers fun field trips. N Berkeley Parent


My eight year old son attended A World of Peace Aftercare this past academic year which is held at Thousand Oaks Park in Berkeley. It was the camp's first year but is run by a director, Karen Cagan, with 20+ years of experience directing programs for children & working with kids. They pick up the children after school in both Albany & Berkeley. He had a great experience.

This aftercare is a rare find these days. Not only do the kids have lots of engaging activities & projects and both indoor & outdoor time, they also really focus on teaching children about getting along. The staff were all kind & responsible and my son really liked them. There's a strong emphasis on teaching the children the values of respect, sharing, diversity & peace--all while the kids are having fun.

They also hold a summer camp: A World of Peace Summer Camp-- which we have not yet attended but I'm sure will be lots of fun for the kids.

To top it all off, this is a very reasonably priced aftercare program so this past year my son attended a better program & we saved money at the same time. I highly recommend it! holly


Nov 2008

I just wanted to recommend A World of Peace After-school program at Live Oak Park in N. Berkeley because it still has a few openings this year. It has drop-in for $40/day if you want to try it. My kids love it -- the program uses the L. Oak facilities -- really good play structures and swings/ basketball court and the really big auditorium there. It is on the smaller side which really resonates with both my kids. I have a K and 4th grader. My K loves the indoor/outdoor baseball and my 4th loves the cooking on tuesdays and craft projects like knitting. You can also take advantage of the classes like pottery, sewing, and carpentry the city of Berk (Live Oak Park) offers although we havn't tried them yet. Call Karen Cagan (director)510-292-0263 for more info or feel free to email me with questions. Michele


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