Category Archives: Kids
When the new West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library opens on Saturday Dec. 14, officials hope that it not only becomes a place for people to take out books, but a community center that allows people to collaborate and build their businesses.
The new 9,300 square foot, $7.5 million structure at 1125 University Ave. (at San Pablo) — first net-zero library in California – will have the largest community meeting room in the branch system. It can hold up to 100 people and it can be configured for video conferences and computer coding, as well as for meetings. There are numerous electrical outlets near the tables to accommodate laptops (which are also available for use) and a long counter that faces out onto the small garden holding a newly planted cork oak tree.
“It’s really not a traditional community reading room but an extension of the library,” said Library Director Donna Corbeil as she pointed to the glass wall that separates the meeting room from the rest of the building. … Continue reading »
By Varya Simpson
In many people’s minds, Berkeley is synonymous with alternative lifestyles. So it should not be surprising that Berkeley currently is home to 17 yoga studios with a wide array of classes to choose from.
Originally, hatha yoga was only one part of a complex system of self-discipline in India, which lead to union with the divine. Over the last 20 years, it has achieved mainstream world-wide popularity as a healthy and accessible form of exercise. Berkeley has, once again, kept up with the times. … Continue reading »
So many new students have unexpectedly enrolled for kindergarten for the 2013-2014 school year that the Berkeley Unified School District has to add three new kindergarten classrooms.
BUSD has seen steady growth in enrollment in recent years and had projected for larger numbers of kindergarten students, but an additional 66 students unexpectedly signed up, according to a letter sent out this week and signed by Superintendent Donald Evans and Neil Smith, assistant superintendent for educational services. … Continue reading »
THE FICKLE BAG The handbag and accessory store The Fickle Bag has shut its doors at 1885 Solano Ave. A note on the store’s website announcing the closure of the 3-year-old business does not provide details regarding why it closed. However, owner Jua Park also operates a Fickle Bag location in the San Francisco International Airport, which will remain open. (Hat tip: Jane Tierney)
IT’S THE CHILDREN Also recently closed is the boutique children’s clothing store, It’s The Children, near the Vine Street Peet’s at 1506 Walnut St. According to the North Shattuck Association, the owner was originally hoping to relocate the business, but ultimately closed instead. The reason for closure is unknown, as the owner didn’t notify the neighborhood business organization, but low-level foot traffic on Walnut combined with the success of nearby Kid Dynamo may have come into play. (Hat tip: Doug Ng) … Continue reading »
Like characters in an ancient Roman frieze, eight young boys assume motionless poses, then spring to pumping, rolling, spinning life in front of the Zellerbach Playhouse on the University of California, Berkeley, campus.
It’s a rehearsal, but in light of the fierce pride and near-divine determination in their expression — and exploding from their agile bodies — it impresses as so much more. They are AileyCamp dancers, they are men-to-be, they are special.
AileyCamp, organized in Berkeley by Cal Performances every year, is a national program based on the principles of Alvin Ailey, an African American son of a single parent who made his way to the pinnacle of the dance world as a performer, choreographer and founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Along the way, he developed an ambitious philosophy: circumstances do not define the human spirit, and children are often the best place to look in order to learn life lessons. Expanding on his ideas, and using the Horton technique — the modern dance methodology behind the fearless, muscular physicality of the Ailey style — he focused AileyCamp on communication.
If you’ve never heard of the trial of Timmy McGraw, don’t consider yourself uninformed. McGraw vs. The People was a local, low-profile case of vandalism and mistaken identity. There were no life-changing revelations, the defendant was ruled not guilty and the parties parted amicably. Oh, and the lawyers, bailiff and witnesses were all aged 10 or 11 years old.
Ty Alper, a clinical law professor at UC Berkeley, was the driving force behind the mock trial on June 13 conducted by fifth graders at Rosa Parks Elementary School. (Watch the video of the trial embedded below to see how the kids performed.)
Alper and his colleague, James Stevens, trained the students who volunteered for the trial, wrote McGraw vs. the People, and supervised the trial as it unfolded in the courthouse. Why? Because, said Alper, having 10- and 11-year-olds participate in a mock trial would expose them to the lawyer’s world, introduce them to public speaking and be fun to boot. … Continue reading »
Berkeley is facilitating free lunches and snacks for under-18-year-olds this summer at locations across the city.
In the Berkeley Unified School District, 42 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch during the school year, which is easily accessible when school is in session but can become difficult to find during the summer. City Councilwoman Linda Maio recently sent an email to her district asking her constituents to spread the word about the free summer lunch program.
Berkeleyside has created a map, above, that shows where the lunches are distributed. Below is a list of the dates and locations of the free lunch and snack programs. … Continue reading »
Update, 4:02 p.m.: The Principal of LeConte Elementary School announced she is resigning shortly after this story was published. In a statement issued today, Kathryn Singh said she would be moving back to Massachusetts due to family matters. BUSD Co-Superintendent Neil Smith said in a note to the LeConte community that Singh had been a great educational leader for LeConte and that “her bilingual and cross-cultural expertise served LeConte well in this year of transitions.” He continued: “I am committed to making the process to hire LeConte’s next principal as transparent and smooth as possible. The opening was officially advertised today both locally and through a well-regarded public education online search service.”
Original story: A Berkeley elementary school principal has been asked to switch schools, opening up a new head-of-school vacancy in a field which has seen several changes recently.
Jen Corn, who has been Principal at Oxford Elementary for two years, will replace Gayle Hughes as the new principal of Thousand Oaks Elementary School. Hughes announced this summer that, due to the relocation of her husband’s workplace, she will be moving to Southern California. … Continue reading »
Citing a failure to address significant plumbing problems at Emerson Elementary that date back years, community members pleaded with the Berkeley Unified School Board last Wednesday to ask the district to change its approach to communication as well as maintenance issues.
According to a June 4 letter from the Emerson PTA, two pipes broke last year, in a hallway and a teachers’ bathroom. Then, a few days into the 2012-13 school year, a broken faucet flooded, which led to the relocation of four classrooms of young students.
In May, a leak and water damage closed two bathrooms, one boys’ and one girls’, for more than two weeks. Concern heightened when the possibility of mold contamination arose, which “could pose potential health risks to children and staff with asthma, lung disease, or allergies,” said the PTA. … Continue reading »
Urban Adamah, the community farm that has been operating out of rented quarters on Parker Street for two and a half years, is in contract to purchase a 2.2-acre lot next to a restored section of Codornices Creek in West Berkeley.
The organization, which integrates Jewish traditions, environmental education, mindfulness and social action, purchased the land at Sixth and Harrison streets from the U.S. Post Office for $2.1 million and has until Aug. 4 to come up with the funds, according to Adam Berman, the founder of Urban Adamah. The land, at 1151 Sixth, is undeveloped and sits next door to the post office’s main processing facility. … Continue reading »
Having a child is a life-changing event. But “having a child that is destined to die,” as Erica Jong writes in the introduction to Monica Wesolowska’s moving, lyrical memoir, Holding Silvan: A Brief Life, “must be more life changing still. How do we let go? How do we mourn?” Jong asks.
In today’s world of high tech births, it’s a tragedy that most in the United States will not experience. Yet, however rare, newborns do die. Wesolowska and her husband David, both long-time Berkeley residents, were completely unprepared for the awful news that their newborn son, Silvan, had suffered severe brain damage during delivery.
Wesolowska’s pregnancy had been uneventful and her labor seemed normal. Yet something had gone terribly wrong.
The baby lingered for 38 days and Wesolowska fit in a lifetime of loving in that brief time span. She and David decided soon after Silvan’s birth not to feed him, and they held and loved him as his once plump frame withered and wasted. Making the decision to let Silvan die was not easy — and the ethical considerations form a fascinating part of the book — and yet Wesolowska shows readers how it was really the ultimate act of maternal love. … Continue reading »
Community members crammed into the Berkeley City Council chambers Tuesday night to speak out about the absence of 9-year-old Rodrigo Guzman, a Jefferson Elementary School student who was sent back to Mexico with his family in January when they were denied re-entry into the United States due to expired visas. Jefferson students read statements to the council, which later unanimously approved a resolution to fight for the family’s return.
The resolution includes a commitment to send letters to President Barack Obama, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Senator Dianne Feinstein urging them to write special legislation to grant assistance to the family. The Berkeley Unified School District unanimously passed a similar resolution March 13.
Rodrigo and his family joined the council meeting via a Skype video connection, which Mayor Tom Bates said was a first for Berkeley. (Watch the video of Rodrigo’s statement here.) … Continue reading »
For more than a month, a desk in the middle of a fourth grade classroom at Jefferson Elementary School sat conspicuously empty.
Until December, 9-year-old Rodrigo Guzman occupied the desk, one of four clustered together. But when Rodrigo and his parents were denied re-entry from Mexico into the United States in January because their visas had expired, the desk sat empty for at least a month, a sentinel of sorts to the hope that Rodrigo would rejoin 27 classmates. Finally, Rodrigo’s teacher, Barbara Wenger took it out.
“We were just waiting for him to get back from his family vacation,” said Wenger. “We were just waiting. After we realized he was not going to come back we rearranged the classroom and removed the desk.”
But even though Rodrigo, who came to Berkeley when his was 18 months’ old, is stuck near Mexico City, desperately missing Little Caesar’s pizza, tacos from Rubio’s, and Fruit Gushers, his classmates are not giving up hope he will return. … Continue reading »