Children's Community Center (CCC)Community Subscriber
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Children’s Community Center (CCC) is a nonprofit, parent participation, cooperative preschool. We welcome diversity in ethnicity, economic background, and family structure. The academic year and summer programs are play-based and seek to build self-identity and skills for social interaction. CCC operates on the belief that preschool children need and benefit most from a safe environment for self-directed play. The physical layout and materials provided are designed to stimulate growth and learning in as many ways as possible.
We are in our final year at CCC, Children's Community Center, in North Berkeley, and we have LOVE-LOVE-LOVED every single minute of it. It is a co-op and is play-based. The teachers are amazing and nurturing, guiding a program that really supports the child in developmentally appropriate ways (which means that the teachers and community fully recognize that each child is on her/his own developmental/social schedule and supports that). It is a gem of a place physically, just magical, with tons of outdoor space to run around and PLAY in. The community of families, kids and parents is like one big, welcoming, extended family. The only thing that might not work in your case is that it's a five-day program, from 9am-12:30pm (and with the option to extend the day(s) to 3:30pm or 5:30pm). The connections run deep, as there are four preschoolers here this year whose parents were students at CCC when they were preschoolers, a few decades ago! My husband and I pinch ourselves sometimes because we feel so fortunate to be a part of this community. Our motto is, ''Even if we did absolutely nothing else right as parents, we got one thing right and that's sending our child to CCC.'' Happy CCC Camper
I was a SAHM and my kids attended Children's Community Center, a co-op preschool. Our entire family learned so much from that experience and I can't imagine what our lives would be like without CCC. I am still close to the parents who shared the same participation day, and our kids are now sophomores and they're still friends too. It's wonderful to see those same kids at Berkeley High, almost grown up. Just the other day my friend shared a photo album with me of the day our kids did a Jackson Pollock-esque activity by laying face down on the tire swing, taking a paint brush, getting a (gentle!) push by a parent, and brushing/splattering/dribbling the canvas on the ground below them. The resulting artwork was presented at the Annual Art Show. I showed the pictures to my son, and he said, ''Man, I miss CCC. It was an amazing place!''
This is not just a plug for CCC, but a plug for co-ops in general. Not all programs are run the same way, but generally there are opportunities for parent education about cognitive development, discipline, anti-bias curriculum, etc. as well as potlucks and art shows. I would recommend preschool not just for your daughter's enrichment, but for your whole family's.
FYI I attended a co-op preschool and I'm still friends with some of my classmates -- and we're over 40 years old. And my mom has a monthly lunch date with the moms she participated with on her day. Laurel C
Re: Pros & Cons of Parent Co-ops
Our twins are at the Children's Community Center, an 85 year old play-based parent-teacher cooperative. It has definitely been the right choice for our family. Our children love their teachers and love all the participating parents. It is a safe and supportive place where I continue to grow as a parent and to learn new things about my children every day. The aftercare program is run by teachers only. Every co-op is different. Ours requires children to attend five days a week.
We would have paid at least twice as much for less time had we gone with our second choice.
I participate two days a week (one day for each child) from 8:45am-12:45pm. Each family has an admin job and is required to attend a monthly evening meeting and to do at least two building and grounds parties per year. There are also fundraising requirements. For me, although I do sometimes feel overwhelmed, this has been a blessing. I have learned so much about working with others from a variety of backgrounds and I feel very invested in the school. This works for me, because I am not working full time, but it can be challenging for parents who do have long work weeks.
I would be happy to answer specific questions you may have about the co-op experience generally or about CCC in particular. Debra
Re: Looking for affordable preschool in Berkeley
Hello - We're currently at Children's Community Center (CCC), a parent teacher co-op in North Berkeley. It's been an affordable option with a great community, and a chance to really get involved in your child's school life. Each family works one morning in the classroom alongside professional teachers (8:45-12:45) and has an admin job that helps the school run with a low overhead. We have teachers who have been here for over 20 years. Monthly tuition is around $490 something for the 5 day 9-12:30 program. PM hours (12:30-3:30 or 12:30-5:30) are at $7/hour now. Scholarships are available for those with financial need. Call the message line for our tour parents to get in touch with you if you're interested in the 4-5's class for next year (4 by 9/1/12). i think there might still be spaces. 510-528-6975. Robin
Re: Preschool for 2 1/2 year old, parent participating
I want to highly recommend Children's Community Center (CCC). Website is http://www.cccpreschool.org/. It is an amazing community of families who are fully committed to their children and their growth. Our son will be starting in the Backyard in September.
The physical space is incredible: gardens, sand, trees, trails to explore, and tons of things to play with, put together, and figure out. The teachers are first rate: insightful, respectful of the children and their personalities and needs, wildly creative, and masterful in their teaching abilities. The community is just awesome: it just pulls together when it needs to to help each other out. My son loves being there and being a part of it all.
You did mention that you want 2-3 days a week and I think I had the same idea/concern when I was where you are. I have found that the 5 days/week gives the kids the regularity and routine to build relationships, find stability and make more connections (both developmental and interpersonal). I haven't found it to be too much or overwhelming.
I hope that this is helpful and that you find a preschool that is a fit for you and your child... Happy CCCer
I'm not sure if the 2-3 days/week is an option, but Children's Community Center on Walnut in Northish Berkeley is a great parent (and grandparent) co-op, and I think that kids just need to be 3 by 1 Dec. Good luck. teachergran
Re: Preschool where my son won't be the token black kid
Dear Discouraged, I think that the Children's Community Center in Berkeley does a pretty good job of keeping both the student population and the staff pretty diverse. Only problem is they usually have a long waiting list! It still might be worth giving them a call even if it's just for a referral. Speaking as a teacher who runs a small program in Berkeley, I have to say that I too am discouraged and disapointed by the lack of diversity in my program (as well as most others that I have seen) despite my best efforts. Nobody wants to be the ''token'' anything, but sometimes it takes just one person to encourage others. Once enrolled, a parent can refer other friends and family thus enlarging the diversity of the population. I think creating diversity is a community effort and we all have an important part to play to make it work. -Wanting More Diversity Too!!
Re: Is the number of adults a problem at a co-op?
My two shy daughters attended CCC and had a great experience there. The number of adults at the school did not seem to be an issue. The children are with the same teachers each day, so that provides a lot of consistency. Getting to know many children and adults was a great learning experience and one that made my girls feel more confident by the time they entered elementary school. CCC alum
My daughter recently graduated from CCC. I would call her typically shy around adults, but she had very little trouble adjusting to co-op life. At CCC, the teachers on staff are always present, providing a wonderful consistency for not only the kids, but the parents working. My daughter loved getting to know her classmates' mom/dad/grandparents and was never overwhelmed by the rotating parent-teachers. Also, at CCC a lot of time is put into training new parent-teachers to have consistent and postive responses to children. Not sure how it works elsewhere, but my daughter thrived in this setting. On an added note, the afternoon staff maintains the same teachers without parent-teachers -- and they are absolutely, hands-down fantastic and amazing. CCC fan
Re: Preschool feedback
Thanks for the opportunity to post a new, rave review about CCC. Both of my children attended and we couldn't be happier. The real strength (other than the co-op model) is the teachers. Several of them went there as children themselves, one sent her own children there, and there are two teachers who have each been there for over 15 years. There are also three men on the staff of eight, which we really appreciated. That said, the challenges include the co-op model making it difficult for some families to participate. The school is working hard to make the student body more diverse and figure out ways to retain the commitment to parent participation while recognizing that this is difficult for lots of working families. I have found the school to be very open to ideas for change, and everyone is really committed to the health of this 80 year-old school. Good luck with your choices!
a happy CCC parent
My daughter is a recent "graduate" of CCC. She absolutely loved her classmates, teachers, and the grounds. Coming from a house-hold with two working parents, I found co-op duties to be challenging but not impossible. The teachers and staff at CCC are dedicated completely to the kids and it is evident in their interactions. However, in my opinion the selling point for us was the building and grounds -- what a wonderful, exciting, and creative place for our preschool daughter to explore and play.
Former CCC parent
Re: Co-op Preschools in Oakland
My 6 year old recently graduated from and my 4 year old currently attends Children's Community Center (CCC). It is located on Walnut Street, near Eunice in North Berkeley.
CCC is a parent-teacher co-operative, founded in 1927. I feel so fortunate that our family was able to be a part of its community. It features a play-based, developmental, open-choice curriculum.
Some cool things about CCC:
Male teachers. There are 4 male teachers on staff, not including fathers who participate.
Parent education. The excellent staff model positive discipline, plus you learn a lot from other parents (and children!), too.
Sense of community. I love the friends I met at CCC. It's also fun to come across alumni in Berkeley.
Please check out the website -- http://www.cccpreschool.org/ -- and take a tour. You'll fall in love with the grounds and the activities available for the children. Satisfied CCCer
I have seen the postings on the website for CCC in Berkeley and they're all raves. I would like to hear any less than positive aspects/experiences at CCC. Please help!
You hear great things about CCC because it really is great! The curriculum, teacher/directors, and the physical site are phenomenal. It is one of only 3 bay area preschools accredited by the national early childhood education association. That said, you want more nitty gritty details. It is hard work to be a member of a coop. It is a very different experience than dropping one's child off at school and picking them up some time later and participating in occasional events. I've done both. At CCC, you get to know each and every child and parent very well. One's one biases about young children, parenting, social issues, healthy food,and a host of other issues are challenged. This can be hard. As adults, we are modeling living in a community for our children (and each other), and conflicts can be difficult to resolve. Having the commitment, though, to work on it, is significant. Also, the time commitment can be challenging. The administrative jobs differ a good deal in terms of responsibilities and benefits, and all take some energy. Good luck in your choices. coop parent
I've got to wonder why someone (posting anonymously) is only interested in ''less than positive'' experiences? There are only three recommendations on the web site, and only one is from the last 5 years.
I'll be happy to share my experiences with CCC, but not just the negative ones, sorry. Jerome
My child went to C.C.C. and I thought there were many wonderful things about it, and some not so good things. While there are many wonderful families, and you and your child get to know them, it can be hard for kids who are more shy or have difficulty transitioning. Your child works with different batches of parents each day (albeit with a core staff of the same people), so it can take a while for some children to get settled in.
It is a lot of work: training, meetings, work day at the preschool, and your additional coop job. I knew several parents who chose not to return with their second child for that very reason. However, I do feel that I learned a lot at the training and by being with the groups of children.
The most common complaint I heard was that a coop you end up re- inventing the wheel with each new group of parents, and it can also be tedious and laborious trying to make decisions and getting things done in such a large group. At times, cliques of parents could really diminish the pleasure of being there, but as I said, most of the parents are people I liked enormously.
I am not sorry that we participated in the community, but all things considered, with a second child I don't think I'd do it again. Wishing you luck in your decision
Re: Preschools with good playgrounds
Tour CCC (Children's Community Center)pre-school because they have two great yards for the 3 and 4 year olds - available to the kids all day long, in rain or shine. It's at 1140 Walnut Street in Berkeley. Our two children went there and love to go back and visit, especially the play yards, whenever they can. It is a co-op pre-school, which you should know in advance. that may or may not work for you. The phone number is 528-6975. Karen H.
Re: Culturally Diverse Preschools
Take a look at Children's Community Center (CCC) in Berkeley (528-6975). CCC is a parent/teacher co-op with an extraordinary professional staff. It is a developmental preschool committed to diversity. There are fabulous art materials and projects available to the kids every day. A wonderful movement teacher comes in regularly. And of course, there are books, building materials, etc. galore. Core components of the curriculum include conflict resolution and inclusive play. Kids really develop skills to talk things through and parents develop skills to help the kids talk things through. CCC has absolutely lovely outdoor space, and two big classrooms. We've had a wonderful five years there. Our youngest child will move on to kindergarten this fall. For the people it speaks to, CCC really does meet the criteria of the ideal school we all hold in our minds. hendu
To the parent (and others) looking for a premiere parent co-op with garden, music, movement, social interactions and fun ("whole child" or play-based preschool) in North Berkeley:
My children, now 7 and 11, both attended Children's Community Center for preschool, and we simply loved it. It is well-established in a residential neighborhood on Walnut near Euclid in North Berkeley, and has been there for a long, long time (it is the oldest parent co-op nursery school west of the Mississippi). This delightful school has it all: a beautiful site (the outdoor areas are choice, and the four-year-old play yard is literally one of the most soothing places I know of in Berkeley), the best teachers, a garden, music, movement (Jim Beatty when we were there, and I think he's still part of the curriculum), an emphasis on social development and a strong parent ed component. This school fosters community, and children and their families cherish the memories for, literally, generations. When my first child was born, my neighbor came down the street to admire him and said "I don't care what else you do with this child, just send him to CCC." We did and I am sure it was one of the three best parenting decisions we've made in our 11+ years of parenthood. Call 510-526-9739 for a visit. Melissa
My younger child is just emerging from the world of preschools, hence I think I have some useful information about at least one of the schools you inquired about.
Both my kids attended Children's Community Center (the oldest parent coop west of the Mississippi and a fabulous place); if you have time to participate in your child's preschool education, I can think of no better place for young children and their families.