Many Lamorinda families look for childcare after school for their children. With children in many directions after school, it’s often a necessity for working parents to sustain care and/or a driver for their child until they are sixteen. There are a variety of options in Lamorinda and the key is that each of these options can fill up quickly, so it's important to do your research and be on waitlists early if you are relying on facilities or classes that have a maximum capacity.
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Lamorinda Childcare Options
If childcare is what you are after, there are three common options to consider: in-home care at your own home, center-based care at a facility or family childcare, where the caregiver operates out of his/her home. Deciding the best fit for your family often depends on how many children in the home, ages of children, your budget and your child(ren)’s after school activities.
Many families enjoy the flexibility of a nanny or au pair. In this case, the caregiver typically drives and this is a great option for working parents to know that anything that comes up such as classes, practices, appointments, tutoring or scout meetings, can be handled by this caregiver. This option also often works for families with two or more children because the cost of a childcare facility is typically per child. An in-home childcare provider can also help with some chores around the house or dinner prep and a big advantage is your children can be in their own home to get started on homework. Many families find such a caregiver through agencies or through the St. Mary’s College student job network, which has gone to an online system.
The most popular choice in Lamorinda for after school care are the facilities that are on each of the elementary school grounds. Many families begin to take advantage of this easy choice in TK or kindergarten when the school day is shorter and there may be older siblings in school for the full day so that they have one time for pick up. These facilities are just a short walk away and there is supervision for children as they migrate over after school, whether after the shorter kindergarten day or the full day of school. They typically serve snack, facilitate homework time, have enrichment activities and become a home away from home for some children. Children have an opportunity to connect with friends and often have multi-aged friendships, which is an added bonus. Recently, with more families have two working parents...these on site after school care facilities fill up fast and many families cannot get in! Be sure to go early and get on the waitlist as things do shift and some families will drop a day or two and it can be a way in.
Some schools offer after school enrichment classes directly after school. The community centers also provide classes and activities, and have also stepped up to offer after school childcare. Some children are very dedicated to a sport and have practices that they must attend, so a driver is necessary. Parents can carpool this commitment or hire someone that can be available for their children and this often is an issue as children get older. Some children are in a variety of different activities and the season and practice times vary.
At the middles schools, there are busses that bring students home or The County Connection bus system that students can use to get home. There are also libraries in each town some students take advantage of to go to homework in a quiet place. There are after school sports at each of the public middle schools in Lamorinda (Stanley, JM and OIS) and some students take advantage of participating in these activities. The school library is open for a bit after school and some schools have after school help for certain subjects on specific days.
After school care can be a big part of your child’s day, so it’s important to find the right fit. There are many things to consider when choosing a plan that works for your family. The key is to plan ahead as this is something so many families are considering.