Frequently Asked Questions
REGISTRATION, BILLING, and SCHEDULING
Q: How do I register for afterschool?
A: You may register through this link: https://forms.gle/UbPfDkd3eESzjXxE6. Our billing coordinator will then reach out to collect your billing information. Once our billing coordinator has your billing info, you’re officially registered! Check your email for a confirmation and important info.
Q: When and where does afterschool take place?
A: Our program is held at St. Alban’s church at the corner of Washington and Curtis in Albany. It’s a large, beautiful, open hall space with a kitchen and a small stage. The kids also spend quite a bit of time at Memorial Park, which is where you can find them on Wednesdays – after they’ve done their homework and reading, of course!
We pick up students when they are released from school, generally from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, and the program runs until 6:00 PM.
Q: I see your program takes place at a church. Is this a religious program?
A: The program does not have a religious component. However, we occasionally partner with the rector of St. Alban’s, Reverend Julie Wakelee-Lynch, to participate in community-involvement activities that focus on increasing the kids’ awareness of the world around them and how they can positively contribute.
Q: How much does afterschool cost? Do you offer discounts or a sliding scale?
A: We offer two options: Scheduled Days or the FlexDrop plan.
If you choose the Scheduled Days plan, you only pay a daily fee ($40 for grades 1-6, $42 for kindergartners), and may add one-off days with 24 hours' notice. You may change your scheduled days with one week’s notice. In order to keep a space in the program, you must commit to paying for two days per week, even if your child does not attend.
The FlexDrop Plan is $75 per month, plus the daily fee ($40 a day) whenever your child attends. You may call or text us any time, up to an hour before dismissal, to schedule pickup.
We offer a 5% discount for dual enrollment in one of our enrichment classes (Spanish, Mandarin or math), siblings, and for attending all 5 weekdays.
We occasionally offer scholarships to single and low-income families on a discretionary basis. Please inquire by emailing email@example.com.
Q: Are you accepting new families? What happens when sign-ups are full? Is there a waitlist?
A: We are currently still accepting new families! If we reach capacity, we will create a waitlist in our online registration system. If a space opens up, we will send a message to families on the waitlist and give them 24 hours to respond. Then, we will give the space to the respondent who joined the waiting pool first. If a space opens up more last minute, whoever we reach first on the waitlist will get the space.
Q: What is your scheduling and cancellation policy?
A: All scheduling changes and requests must be made in writing, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The exception being FlexDrop families, who may text or call Tameka (510-355-5225) with scheduling requests up to an hour before pickup.
CMASP requires 24 hours' notice to cancel attendance without penalty for any days beyond the minimum commitment for your family.
Cancellations inside of 24 hours will be billed at the regular daily fee.
Late cancellation due to illness will be billed at half your family's daily fee.
Cancellation of enrollment in our program requires two weeks’ notice.
Q: How will I be billed? Can I set up a payment plan?
A: Teresa, our billing coordinator, will contact you after your registration is confirmed to collect your billing info. We bill at the beginning of the month following each month of the program (i.e. if your child attends in February, you will be billed for February’s attendance in early March).
Q: Do you offer single day registration? My child wants to give the program a test run.
A: To inquire about dropping in, please email email@example.com - we will likely be able to accommodate you. A single day drop-in session is billed at our regular rate.
Q: How can I contact you and stay in the loop about afterschool?
A: We use email as our primary means of communication: firstname.lastname@example.org
We send out a weekly newsletter (from CM Afterschool Program- check your spam folder!) detailing afterschool happenings, special events, schedule notices, student shoutouts, cooking class recipes, and more. If you have an urgent question about billing, please contact Teresa at email@example.com or (510) 540-8646 x5. For general questions about camp, please contact Tameka and Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org. For urgent questions during program hours, you may call Tameka at (510) 355-5225.
Q: When is CMASP closed? Do you close on holidays?
A: Because we service multiple school districts with varying calendars, we may remain open on days that a particular school has off or vice versa. Our calendar and any closures will be included in the weekly newsletter.
A DAY AT AFTERSCHOOL
Q: What does a typical day at Classroom Matters Afterschool Program look like?
A: At CM, we value the power of play. We provide lots of opportunities for free play as well as structured exploration of different activities. We know that each kid is unique, and we strive to provide a variety of experiences for our kids. Because of our small staff-to-child ratio, we're able to help your child discover activities they love.
Each day, we pick kids up on foot from their school and walk them over to the church whenever school lets out. Then, program runs till 6:00 PM.
When the kids arrive, they have free play. We have a variety of materials and stations for students to explore - whether constructing a cool invention at our Art & Engineering table, challenging another camper to a game of giant mancala, crafting the perfect origami paper plane, or playing a round of Ball Tag in our outdoor space, every kid is sure to find something they'll love.
Homework and snack time happens from 4:15 to 4:45 PM. We provide a changing variety of fresh fruits and veggies every day to fuel your child’s play! We also have iced or hot herbal / fruit tea (depending on the weather) and fruit-infused water. Sometimes, we provide a little something extra - popcorn, Goldfish crackers, quesadillas, homemade soup, food from Cooking Class, etc. During homework time, students can read or write quietly or work on activities from school. An academic mentor is available at each table to read with students, answer questions, and help with difficult assignments.
Kindergarten students have a special enrichment time with our kinder teacher where they do reading, math activities, art, etc.
At 5:00 PM, we have enrichment time:
Mondays: kids do art or STEM activities
Tuesdays and Thursdays: Chara teaches cooking
Wednesdays: we go to Memorial Park.
Fridays: free play days. Sometimes, we have a special activity, like gardening, baking, or STEM.
We also have special activities quite frequently; for example, bowling, scavenger hunt, a visit from a pair of dwarf bunnies, celebrating Holi, etc. These "special" activities can fall on any day of the week, and you'll always get a heads up about them via our weekly newsletter that gets sent out each weekend.
For specific activities taking place each day, check out our weekly newsletter, or give us a call/email!
Q: How many kids attend each day?
A: Our program generally accommodates anywhere from 10-25 children each day. We pride ourselves on having a small, inclusive camp!
Q: What is the staff to child ratio?
A: At most 1:9, but sometimes as low as 1:5.
Q: What can kids do during Free Play?
A: We have an amazing variety of creative materials, games, and activities for students to explore. Here's just a small sampling!
The Active kid: body-surf-rolly-boards, jump ropes, hula hoops, bucket stilts, run-mat, gardening tools, a cozy outdoor space, and more!
The Game Lover: Fastrack, Connect-4, Mancala, Chess, Twister, and more. We also have a cool variety of GIANT games.
The Crafty Kid: Perler beads, recycled materials for engineering and art-making, origami, fabric and sewing materials, oil pastels, and more.
None of the Above? We're bound to have something they'll love!
Our staff are engaged with students during free play and are always eager to join in on a game or activity! Not sure how to do an activity? Our staff is happy to teach your child and help get a game or activity going with a fellow kid.
Q: Do you leave the main program site?
A: Every Wednesday, we walk to Memorial Park, which is a couple of blocks away. We occasionally go on local walking field trips. We will always update families in advance via the weekly newsletter if there is an upcoming field trip.
Q: What kinds of field trips and special activities will take place?
A: They’re always changing! However, we have a few favorites:
our Sunset View Cemetery field trip in early November, during which we learn about Dia de los Muertos and participate in a historical scavenger hunt
Celebrating Holi at Memorial Park
Our annual Halloween carnival, co-sponsored by St. Alban’s: face painting, carnival games, spooky snacks, costume contests, and more!
Egg hunts, treasure hunts, and scavenger hunts
Bowling at Albany Bowl
Talent shows and dance parties
special guest visits (children’s book authors and illustrators, local musicians, artists, and more!)
Q: What if my child does not want to do an activity?
A: The wonderful thing about our program is that there are a variety of options to choose from, so kids can find what they like. Because of our small staff-to-kid ratio, we can make sure that your child is engaged in something they're stoked about. On the occasions when there is an activity that all the kids participate in and your child really does not want to or cannot join, they can choose an alternate solo activity.
Q: How well does your program serve an active child?
A: We serve the needs of many types of children, whether shy or outgoing, very active or less active, artistic, scientific, musical, nature lovers. Depending on who is attending program, we alter activities to best suit the interests of our group so we can make program the greatest experience for all involved.
Q: Do you provide lunch for early bird / kinder students?
A: We do not provide lunch. We provide a small healthy snack at 4:15 PM each day. If your child will be attending program during their normal lunch time, please send them with a packed lunch.
Q: What might a typical snack look like?
A: We always have a rotating variety of fruits and veggies: bell peppers, strawberries, cucumbers, carrot sticks, apple slices, grapes, mandarin oranges, sugar snap peas, and more! We also occasionally offer things like roasted seaweed, fresh-popped popcorn, Goldfish crackers, pretzel sticks, Sunbutter, and other tasty treats. We always have water available and often serve iced or hot herbal / fruit tea as a treat. All of our snacks are either vegan or vegetarian, they are always nut-free, they are almost always gluten-free, and we accommodate all food allergies as needed.
POLICIES, SAFETY, AND INDIVIDUAL NEEDS QUESTIONS
Q: My child has a food allergy and gets a severe reaction to nuts. They will be bringing an EpiPen. What are your policies and experience with this?
A: Please provide details about allergies, sensitivities, and medications via the medical form. Our cooking class makes lots of yummy, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly food, and we never serve food containing nuts. Our goal is to make snack time and cooking accessible for as many children as possible. If your child cannot eat products processed in facilities that also process nuts, or if you are at all concerned and just want to make sure your child eats only what you provide, please send alternate snacks/treats with your child.
Q: My child does not eat gluten. Will she be able to eat the snack? Also, will she be able to participate in cooking projects?
A: 90% of our PM extended care snacks are gluten free, and there is always a gluten free alternate. For cooking projects, we do our best to plan for food allergies and sensitivities and have alternates. We cannot always guarantee it, but there are always lots of fun activities besides the cooking project, so your child will be able to participate in other fun. When you register, please let us know if your child is gluten-free.
Q: My child has special needs. How will your staff make sure they have a positive camp experience?
A: Our staff is well-trained and experienced with students with special needs. Please get in touch with us about any accommodations your child may need. Prior to, or at the time of registration, parents/guardians are responsible for notifying us of an officially diagnosed special need. Additionally, we must be informed if your child has been asked to leave another program and/or if your child has had disruptive behavior during his/her time in any other program. If your child has an aide during school, they will need one during program. We have a staff ratio of 1:9, but sometimes go as low as 1:5, so kids need to be able to operate within those ratios most of the time. Some kids need more behavioral or emotional coaching or physical support than our regular staff can provide. Your child’s aide/coach is welcome to come to program to assist your child so they can have that social experience and get the support they need. Often kids will grow into more independence with time and support, and be able to manage without that coach/aide later on.
Q: What is your policy on lice?
A: If we discover your child has nits or lice while they are at program, staff will contact you to come pick up your child asap. Before they can come back to program, they need to be nit/lice free.
Q: My child is not feeling well. Can they still come to program?
A: Your child must be fever free for 24 hours before they can come back to program, as often a fever can go away in the morning but return in the afternoon.
Q: Do you have parent references?
A: Yes, we do. Please contact our office to access this information. There are also quotes from parents available on our website, and reviews on Yelp.
Q: What happens if I’m late picking up my child?
A: We understand that things happen. We grant each family a 5-minute grace period (until 6:05 PM) to pick up their child(ren) without being billed additionally. Late pickups beyond 5 minutes will be billed at $1 per minute to cover overtime fees for our staff. Families who consistently pick up their children late may be asked to meet with the Program Director to brainstorm solutions, or, as a last resort, to unenroll from program.
Q: What items are prohibited at CMASP?
A: The following items are expressly forbidden at all times during CMASP and will be confiscated immediately:
firearms or weapons of any kind (to include ammunition)
drugs, alcohol, or other controlled substances
fireworks or explosives
gang related objects, symbols, clothing, drawings, etc
knives, box cutters, razors, or other sharp objects (school scissors are permitted)
tobacco products, vape pens, lighters, matches or associated paraphernalia
water pistols, stink or paint bombs
energy drinks and carbonated soft drinks (i.e. Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, etc.)
Any prohibited items that are confiscated from a student will be returned to the parent unless the item is turned over to local law enforcement in accordance with state and local mandates. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the parent that an item has been confiscated. Parents must contact the CMASP director to arrange return of the item. Possession of a firearm, weapon, or controlled substance is grounds for immediate removal from program.
Q: What is CMASP’s policy on cell phones and electronic devices?
A: Students are allowed to bring cell phones and other electronic devices to CMASP; however, these devices must be powered off and stored in the student’s backpack or bag during program hours. Cell phones and electronic devices which are out of a student's backpack or bag during CMASP hours will be confiscated and returned to the student's guardian upon pickup. Students with repeated violations of this policy may be subject to further disciplinary action.
CMASP is NOT responsible for and may not investigate or recover lost, stolen or damaged personal items.
Q: What is CMASP’s behavior policy?
A: We believe that firmness, fairness, and consistency are the keys to an effective program. We practice a restorative justice model with the goal of increasing positive student behavioral choices and reducing negative behavior. We aim to provide a positive after-school environment that is conducive to learning, growth, and safe play.
One pillar of our model is the strike system:
1 STRIKE = Warning of consequences to bring awareness of the unacceptable behavior and redirect the student to demonstrate appropriate behavior.
2 STRIKES = Intervention: Staff-assigned time-out / removal from situation / redirection (No parent contact necessary)
3 STRIKES = Staff-assigned time-out / removal from situation / restorative justice - conflict resolution session with staff member (mandatory parent/guardian contact by CMASP staff). Issue is documented via Incident Report, which must be signed by parent or guardian.
2 Incident Reports = family meeting with CMASP administrator
3 Incident Reports = grounds for removal from program
STRIKES CAN INCLUDE AND ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
Disobeying CMASP Rules / Community Agreements
Disregard of Staff Member's Instruction
Damage to CMASP, personal, or church property
Racist, sexist, or otherwise derogatory speech
Physical or emotional bullying
Physical or sexual assault of a staff member or student will result in a mandatory parent contact and documented Incident Report and is grounds for removal from program.
Off-site student conduct (such as cyber bullying) that causes a disruption to the positive afterschool environment may be subject to intervention from CMASP administrators.