BANANAS Honors New Board Member Nancy Harvey for Women’s History Month!

March is Women’s History Month, which serves as a helpful reminder to highlight the contributions of the women in our lives. This month, we are honoring a woman who is a child care provider, child care advocate, a proud member of SEIU Local 521, and a new Board Member at BANANAS — Nancy Harvey.

Nurture, care, and educate is the philosophy behind Nancy’s mission whether she is serving children in her family day care, Lil Nancy’s Primary Schoolhouse in West Oakland, supporting parents in raising their children, or advocating for other child care providers. As a former grammar school teacher, Harvey witnessed first-hand how crucial early care and education is for our littlest learners.

A hallmark of Harvey’s care is the low staff-to-child ratio that ensures children in her care have the necessary adult-child interactions that promote quality learning opportunities and prevent education gaps from developing. She has leveraged educational resources in the community to better serve the children she cares for, from the local public library to Oakland Parks and Recreation opportunities.

Children are never too young to learn. I love my work and have never doubted that my calling is to educate children in their earliest years”, says Harvey.

Harvey comes from a family of activists. Her passion is to advocate for child care providers, fight for better wages and overall respect for the profession, and push policymakers to fix California’s inequitable child care system. In November 2017, Harvey boldly spoke before the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education about how collective bargaining is also about professionalizing the industry, creating career ladders for providers to move-up to better-paying positions, reducing high turnover, and ensuring that tax dollars are spent on the families and children who need early care and education the most.

In 2018, Harvey was heavily involved in Ballot Measure A, Alameda County’s Child Care and Early Education Initiative, and also supported Measure AA, the City of Oakland’s initiative. While, Measure A proposed raising the sales tax in Alameda County to support early childhood education, Measure AA, the Oakland Children’s Initiative, proposed expanding access to quality, affordable preschool for every child from a low-income background in Oakland. The measures did not pass, but Nancy and her team of advocates feel hopeful for the future. Most recently, Harvey has been working with state lawmakers to get the new bill AB 378 through the legislature. She is confident that the bill if passed, will push for higher quality early child care access and the opportunity for child care providers to form unions.

We owe it to the next generation to make a change, or else we won’t have a quality child care industry that affects every family, workplace, and the local and state economies”, says Harvey.

Harvey feels that by being on the Board for BANANAS, she can better represent child care providers and make their voices heard. She loves BANANAS’ wide array of programs and is extremely fond of parent and provider workshops. Her favorite is the SEIU On-The-Job Training Project classes. In her free time, Harvey goes out for nature walks, indulges in interior design showcases, and spends time with her three children.

Please join us in welcoming Nancy Harvey as our new Board Member!

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Children

Educate our youngest learners about the many accomplishments of women and involve them in celebrating Women’s History Month. Here’s how:

  • Read books to your children about great women who made big contributions to the world
  • Plan a trip to a local museum and learn about various events about Women’s History Month
  • Take your children to a local women’s organization to learn about what they do for the community and possibly volunteer
  • Every family has their own amazing women worth celebrating! Plan a breakfast with your child and the special woman in your family (mother, grandma, aunts, cousins) and have your children listen to her stories

If You See Something, Say Something

When it comes to young children, safety is the number one priority. Whether you are a parent or a child care provider, you know how important it is to always be aware of children’s surroundings and actions. In addition to ensuring that our homes and programs are safe, clean, healthy environments, it’s also extremely essential to keep an eye out for anything that seems suspicious. This might mean recognizing an item that shouldn’t be where it is, noticing someone’s behavior that doesn’t seem quite right, or seeing an interaction between an adult and a child that is inappropriate or dangerous.

You may have heard this saying before: If you see something, say something. It is used by the U.S. government to encourage people to stay vigilant of their environments. Now it is also being encouraged by Community Care Licensing and the Centralized Complaint & Information Bureau (CCIB). When you notice something that troubles you or anything that seems like a child care violation or danger to children, report it to 1-844-LET US KNOW (1-844-538-8766). Your complaint can be anonymous unless you authorize your name to be used and the CCIB will investigate the claim within 10 days. You will be notified of the results.

Please be aware that Community Care Licensing requires that all licensed child care facilities hang this poster next to their license in clear view of parents. Together, we can make sure our children are safe at all times!

Gma Village Offers New Child Care Options!

The Gma Village team.

BANANAS is so excited to announce that we have wonderful new friends in our building! Not only is the team from Gma Village great to have around, they also do spectacular work in the community. We know that finding and paying for child care is a challenge for many families. It can be such a struggle that some parents have to choose between going to work or being home to raise their kids. Luckily, Gma Village has new child care options that benefit everyone!

This pilot service connects local grandmothers with families looking for child care. Founders Johnna Flood, Catalina Garcia, and Maggie Ollove met while doing research for T-Lab at Tipping Point seeking ways to combat poverty. The three came together to focus on the issue of child care and soon began holding workshops in West Oakland to hear how parents were managing their child care needs. The team learned that many low-income parents struggled to find child care during non-traditional hours such as evenings and weekends when most centers and daycares are closed. They also learned that the high cost of care was an obstacle for parents who were struggling to afford basic necessities such as rent and food.

During their outreach in the community, Johnna, Catalina, and Maggie also discovered that the families who were able to find consistent, reliable care were mostly relying on the same family member: Grandma. This inspired them to talk with Oakland grandmothers to hear their perspectives. It turned out that while some grandmothers were feeling a bit overtaxed, many others actively wanted opportunities to connect with the community and felt a desire and ability to provide care for other children. As a result, the Gma Village was created. 

To become caregivers within the Gma Village, grandmothers will attend an orientation and trainings, including a workshop on health and safety. Parents will then connect with these grandmothers with the help of Gma Village and their portfolio of providers. It’s a win-win! 

“This will have an impact on three different generations,” said Maggie. “Parents will have child care so they can work or go to school or just have a reprieve. Grandmas will gain more recognition, more appreciation as well as supplemental income, and kids will have safe, loving care.”

We are thrilled that this concept is now being piloted and are so glad there are new child care options for the community. To learn more about the Gma Village, contact the team at or 510-545-9057.


香蕉中心 提供免費練習說英語的課程。

English Practice Available at BANANAS

自2016年1月25日起,香蕉中心 (BANANAS) 將在每星期一至星期四下午1:30pm – 4:00pm,提供免費練習說英語的課程。這課裎的主要目標是讓家長, 褓姆, 和托兒工作者,除了學習用英語與孩子溝通交談, 唸故事書, 唱歌, 户外學習, 和玩遊戲外,並對英語有更進一步的了解。 由於這個課程是免費的,所以不需要先登記和註册,只要是在課程時間隨時可加入。此外, 這課程以實用英語為主題,所以歡迎帶Babies一起來學習.


  • 第一期: 2016年1月25日 – 2月11日, 每星期一至星期四, 下午1:30 – 4:00。(1/25 – 1/28, 2/1 – 2/4, 2/8 – 2/11)
  • 第二期到2016年底的最後一期, 將會再安排。

BANANAS Pronto ofrecerá Tutoria en Inglés

English Tutoring Sessions

A partir del 25 de Enero, BANANAS ofrecerá tutoría en Inglés para cualquier persona interesada en prácticar sus conocimientos del idioma Inglés. Se invita a los padres y proveedores de cuidado infantil a recibir tutoría que se centrará en el uso del Inglés en el contexto de la crianza de niños. Vamos a utilizar los libros ilustrados, juegos, canciones, paseos, conversación, y más para permitir a los participantes a desarrollar una mejor comprensión del Inglés. Este es un servicio gratuito que no requiere registro o compromiso a largo plazo. Los participantes pueden simplemente venir a BANANAS en cualquier momento durante las horas disponibles para recibir tutoria de un voluntario. Los bebés son bienvenidos!

Horas de Tutoria

Lunes a Jueves de 1:30pm to 4pm

Primera session de tutoria sera el 25 de Enero y el 11 de Febrero.

Sesiones adicionales se programaran durante todo 2016.

Drop-In English Tutoring Is Now at BANANAS!

Drop-In English Tutoring is coming to BANANAS.

If you or someone you know wants to practice their English skills, BANANAS is the place to go!

BANANAS now offers drop-in English tutoring to anyone interested in practicing their English language skills. Parents and child care providers are invited to stop by to receive tutoring that will focus on using English in the context of raising children. We’ll use picture books, games, songs, walks, conversation, and more to allow participants to develop a better understanding of English. This is a free service that doesn’t require registration or long-term commitment. Participants can simply come to BANANAS anytime during drop-in hours to meet with a volunteer tutor. Babies are welcome!

Drop-In Hours

Monday through Thursday from 1:30pm to 4pm

BANANews: Pride Celebrations & Fourth of July Fun

Today the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is legal in all fifty states. We are so excited with this recognition of marriage equality and celebrate along with all of the LGBTQ families in the United States! Next Saturday is the Fourth of July! You can gear up for a festive afternoon with all the ideas on our Pinterest board such as cool berry ice pops, star-spangled slime, and patriotic spaghetti. Before you fire up the grill for a family bbq, be sure to read these six tips for keeping kids safe around heat. If you’re looking for tips on water safety too, you’ll find them (and a whole lot more) in our What’s Happening for Parents Summer Safety issue!


Not only is June Pride Month, today is also a landmark day for the LGBTQ community with the Supreme Court ruling. There are a lot of wonderful activities taking place throughout the Bay Area; get all the details on celebrating LGBTQ families here. Make your voice heard at a Community Meeting tonight, June 26th, on how to improve families’ access to social services. This will be an important opportunity to make a difference. Then, you can bring little ones (and your recyclables!) to the Green Maker Fair on Saturday, June 27th, to learn all about how we can reduce, reuse, recycle, AND make treasures out of what would otherwise become trash. Youth Gone Green will be holding a Recycle-thon at this super event that’s good for kids and the earth.


Thursday, July 9th, is an exciting day at BANANAS because we’ve got two great events happening: Choosing Infant Care and our Directors’ Roundtable Resource Fair. Beginning in July, we’ll also be offering a workshop series just for African American dads called Fathering From Within. Dads will learn tools to strengthen relationships, improve self-awareness, and eliminate harmful belief systems. On Tuesday, August 4th, we’ll be hosting the first class in a parenting series all about Turning Tantrums Around. Participants will take home techniques for transforming challenging behaviors. RSVP today!

Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

BANANews: Father’s Day Fun and Pride Festivities!

Happy Father’s Day weekend from the Bunch!


What a week! Big congrats to the Golden State Warriors for their NBA Championship win. If you want to celebrate with your family in Oakland today, head on over to the Warriors Parade! This week Governor Jerry Brown approved the state budget and included $265 million to fund child care and early learning. All of the details are available in his press release. We’ve had tons of fun putting together our Pinterest board Father’s Day Is on the Way, so if you are looking for last-minute gift ideas, then be sure to check it out! From mugs to shirts to cards and sauces, this compilation has it all. Along with this board, we also began another celebratory collection called Festive Fun: Fourth of July that is filled with red, white, and blue food, crafts, and fun.


If you have a new baby and are looking to hire a nanny, then BANANAS is the place to be! Sign up for a free workshop on Best Practices for Employing a Nanny on Wednesday, June 24th. You’ll learn all there is to know about creating and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship with your in-home caregiver. On Sunday, June 28th, we’re hosting a CPR & First Aid Training and there are a FEW SPACES LEFT! Sign up today to reserve your spot. We’re very excited to introduce two new workshop series that are coming to BANANAS this summer. Beginning Thursday, July 30th, we’re offering Fathering From Within: An African American Fatherhood Series. This will be an enlightening, empowering workshop that will encourage personal growth and positive change. Then, on Tuesday, August 4th, we’re kicking off Turning Tantrums Around, a three-part series that will teach parents about ways to transform challenging behaviors.


Cool off and get into the summer scene at Splash Park on Saturday, June 20th, for only $2 a person. And before you go, be sure that the kids are up to date on water safety by checking out these educational videos. On Sunday, June 21st, bring Dad to the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center for a free leopard shark feeding display that will have the little ones mesmerized. June is also Pride Month, so there are lots of family-friendly events taking place this weekend and next weekend in the East Bay and in the city to celebrate the LGBTQ community! Next weekend, on Sunday, June 28th, is Play Day on the Plaza in Oakland with face painting, a climbing wall, and a sports zone. If you want to plan your Fourth of July family fun, then pencil in the Green, Red, White, and Blue Celebration in Albany for a full day of activities. It’s great to live in the Bay Area.

See you online at our Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

BANANews: Week in Review & Fun Things to Do!

Welcome! It’s always fun when Friday rolls around because that means we can reflect on the past week and look forward to the weekend. There is a lot happening in the child care field and in our community, so read on.


This was an exciting and eventful week as we joined with other Californians to hear how negotiations from the joint budget committee would play out and how much funding would go to early learning and child care. On Thursday we learned that the Senate and Assembly had agreed on a budget of $392 million for early childhood education, and on Friday advocates for children and families began to urge Governor Jerry Brown to sign the proposal, which is expected to be made official on Monday, June 15th. Every investment in kids is a good one and next year we hope to get the full $600 million. Be sure to stay connected with us on Twitter for all the updates! Our June Newsletter also came out this week offering lots of free community events, gift ideas for Father’s Day, and crafts to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month.


On Tuesday, June 16th, volunteers from the Alameda County Bar Association will be at BANANAS to offer free legal services to families with domestic concerns at our Free Family Law Clinic. Then on Thursday, June 18th, we’re hosting a Teen CPR & First Aid Training where kids ages 13 to 17 will learn life-saving techniques from a certified instructor and receive a certificate of completion. RSVP today for this wonderful workshop! Looking ahead there are still a FEW SPOTS LEFT for our CPR & First Aid Training on Sunday, June 28th. Sign up today!


Ready for a bunch of free family fun? We’ve got it! First off is a music-filled Community Pop Up in Berkeley on Saturday, June 13th, where you can enjoy food, walking and biking tours, and also learn about new changes coming to the Adeline Corridor neighborhood.  On Friday, June 19th, take the kids to a Summer Reading Celebration for a superhero photo booth, a barbecue, a book giveaway, and games. And, you’ll have a chance to extend your Father’s Day celebrations with a Daddy & Me Event on Friday, June 26th, at Children’s Fairyland. On Saturday, June 27th, don’t miss a free screening of the documentary series Raising of America, which explores the impact of early learning and child care on children and families.

As always, stay up to date with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn!