What are the fees at BlueSkies?
Please click here to find out more about fees.
How many hours are most children enrolled at BlueSkies?
During non-COVID times, the minimum enrollment is 26 hours—four days per week, Monday to Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Maximum enrollment is 52.5 hours—Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Average enrollment hovers around 40 hours per week, and the pace of the program is based on the needs of children who will be enrolled for a full day of care, as this is the target population for BlueSkies. During the pandemic we are offering one schedule for all children, 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday.
When can I apply to enroll an infant?
To be assured of a space, it is best to submit an application as soon as a due date can be estimated. Space in the Infant group is often committed 10-12 months ahead. For example, in June 2019 admission was offered for infants due to be born in November 2019 and expected to enroll in April 2020.
When should I apply to enroll a toddler or preschooler?
What does it mean to be in the wait pool?
Generally a person in the wait pool is waiting for an appropriate space to open up in a class group that is fully enrolled. Each year’s class group is defined by birth dates between September 1 and August 31 (e.g., children born 9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020 compose the 2020 birth year group). Sometimes there is still room in the class year but not for a particular birth month, as we aim to include a full year of birth dates in each class group.
Applications in the wait pool are maintained by birth year group, so as the group moves through the school the application continues to be considered for any openings in that group. Because wait pool applications may be on file for months or years before a space opens up, we ask parents to call every six months or so to let us know that they are still interested in remaining in the pool. Applicants who do not call for a year will be dropped from the wait pool.
Usually the largest group in the pool is one-year-olds. After children turn two and are toilet trained there are many more programs open to them, so the wait pool tends to decrease in size.
Is it possible to enroll on a school-year schedule?
Founded to serve working families who often only have two weeks vacation per year, BlueSkies is open year-round. To meet its budget, tuition must be paid for each space all year, as the staff is paid year-round. The child’s space must be relinquished to another child if the family does not want to pay summer tuition.
What is the illness policy at Blueskies?
BlueSkies teachers take every reasonable precaution to keep illness from spreading from child to child, always seeking the delicate balance between serving the working parents of an individual family and the needs of the entire classroom of children. Teachers will not admit sick children, and children who become ill at school will be sent home. Good hygiene is practiced by the staff, and even the youngest children are taught to wash hands before eating and after toileting. Children entering group care are quite susceptible to new viruses in their first 6-12 months of enrollment; after that time they generally stay fairly healthy as the “germ pool” stabilizes. Parents whose children are enrolled in group care must have a plan for sick child care. See our section on COVID for our pandemic illness policy and procedures.
What is the composition of the staff at BlueSkies?
About 30 people work at BlueSkies, 90% full-time, including teachers, administrative, cooking, and housekeeping staff. Fourteen staff members have been at BlueSkies five years or longer… and five over 20 years! About 50% of the staff holds B.A. or M.A. degrees. As in the children’s program, diversity is desired and sought—one-third of the staff speak English as a second language, three quarters of the staff are people of color, three staff members are men, about a quarter of the the staff is over age 55 and a quarter is under the age of 30.
What are the qualifications of BlueSkies staff?
All staff on site at BlueSkies must meet Community Care Licensing regulations, including a fingerprint clearance. Staff qualifications range from Program Directors and Head Teachers with B.A. or M.A. degrees, to entry-level aides and housekeepers with little education or experience. All classrooms are staffed with a Head Teacher and Teacher (minimum 12 college units in Early Childhood Education); the Infant and Toddler classrooms with very low child-teacher ratios include additional Teachers and/or aides. All teaching staff participate in weekly staff meetings, staff in-service days four times a year, and ongoing professional growth activities.
What is turnover like among the teaching staff?
On average, about 20% of the teaching staff changes each year; this compares to a national average of 40%. Turnover has been as low as 8% and as high as 32%, and is strongly tied to the local unemployment rates – when employment opportunities are rampant, there is higher turnover. BlueSkies teachers’ wages are consistent with the average in Alameda County nonprofit childcare centers, and they also receive medical benefits and paid vacation/sick leave in addition to professional development opportunities. Most childcare teachers can find other fields of employment that pay more for easier work, however, and particularly those with B.A. degrees.
Does BlueSkies for Children provide any meals?
BlueSkies prepares and serves a healthy lunch and two snacks daily. The staff works with breastfeeding mothers to safely store and prepare breast milk for the babies, and the program provides commonly used formulas for those babies who need it. All meals are prepared to meet the developmental needs of the children in that group. Much, but not all of the food served at BlueSkies for Children, is organic. Menus for each group are available on request.