Children's Community Center (CCC)

Community Subscriber

Berkeley, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

DSS Facility License #: 
Private non-profit parent coop
(510) 528-6975
membership [at]
N. Berkeley near Live Oak Park
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
33 months - 60 months
8:00am - 5:30pm
Additional Services & Features: 
Afternoon option, Drop-in available, Year-round, Sibling discount, Snacks provided
About Our Program: 

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.

Parent Reviews

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We have thoroughly enjoyed our time at CCC. The social/emotional "curriculum" coupled with the great space have made it an ideal program for our kiddo.  The teachers are caring and authentic and we have loved being a part of the community. We also thoroughly loved the parent education provided and it was a joy to be able to regularly participate in my kiddo's school day. We will miss the participation aspect as they transition to elementary school. 

We are at CCC and love it. I also looked into Albany preschool and Dandelion. All 3 are coops with parent participation.  All 3 seemed like nice schools.  We chose CCC because it had the nicest campus,  a strong focus on diversity and anti-bias, and amazing teachers. Every parent I met loved the school. I do think some division and conflict has arisen over differing beliefs around covid precautions.  

You say you are looking to start at 2. I know CCC (and I believe Albany and Dandelion) want kids to be 3 by December to start in the fall. So 2 and 3/4 at the youngest. CCC is also the only one that will accept a child in diapers. 

Feel free to message me if you have any questions. 

Our older kid just graduated from Children’s Community Center after three happy years there. She—and our whole family, actually—grew by leaps and bounds, and we’re very much looking forward to our younger kid attending in a couple of years. Can’t speak highly enough of the teachers and staff at CCC, most of whom are very longtime early childhood educators. One caveat and positive aspect of CCC, both, is that it’s a parent/teacher cooperative, which means that your family would have regular weekly participation days and a family job—not a doable time commitment for all families, though in our experience, the cooperative model meant we were very meaningfully involved at the preschool and have made many lasting relationships with fellow CCC families.

Making a plug for Children's Community Center in Berkeley, which is open this year and actively enrolling for next fall (email tours [at] to schedule a virtual information session). This is my second-time around at CCC, and I can't imagine a better preschool for my kids. The plant-rich campus with its views of San Francisco, the materials, the philosophy, the school's commitment to anti-bias, the incredibly talented teachers--it is a DREAM for a little one. I am so grateful that CCC was able to open this year with a thoughtful Covid-adapted program, and while things are certainly different, the kids are still incredibly happy to be there and the school has retained its spirit. There are half- and full-day program options. Really, check it out--it's amazing. 

We love CCC!  The grounds are beautiful with lots of different environments and textures for play.  The teachers are incredibly caring and knowledgeable and follow a respectful carer philosophy.  My daughter loves to go to school everyday and is so happy when I pick her up.  Every Saturday she is bummed when I remind her it's not a school day :).  I love the co-op aspect of the school.  Even after a few months I already feel a strong sense of community with the other parents (even though I've only met many of them on Zoom!).  It makes parenting feel less isolated and lonely.  And I feel very invested in the administrative aspects of running a school cooperatively.  The school has done an incredible job of making the school as low-risk for COVID as possible - everything has been meticulously thought through and it feels very safe. It is a gift to be able to be a part of CCC.  

Our high energy 3 year old son loves Children’s Community Center! Alyssa and Kathy are dream teachers who have both taught for decades at CCC. We feel so comfortable dropping him off there everyday and he is always happy at dropoff and pickup (although not always happy he has to leave;)). The outdoor space is amazing, a really great organic feel with mix of planted areas, sand, play elements, and covered patio for crafts and art making! It’s all lovely. And I love the teachers' approach to childcare & early childhood education, it is a perfect mix of respectful, gentle, playful, and loving. There is space for kid’s big emotions and all different kinds of learning and play, and they also give us parents tools for navigating childcare & parenting too. We had some potty regressions at the beginning of the year and they helped us overcome it quickly (both at preschool and at home). I fully trust them and all the teachers at CCC.
I also want to add that I feel very safe in how the school has been approaching precautions around Covid. And since it is a co-op, us parents get to have a lot of input, which is great too. We are looking forward to CCC preschool for the rest of this year and next!

This is the end of our first month at CCC but we already love it! The space is amazing- it feels like a magical wonderland built for preschoolers, full of pathways for kids to explore, dry river beds and natural objects for kids to build with and move around. There is also two patio spaces that teachers stock with art, pretend play and building supplies, trading things out and adding new elements to further kids learning and exploration. Teachers at CCC have proven true masters, striking the amazing balance of guiding and adding to students discovery of the  world through play and standing back to let students gain independence. Our son is a little shy at first and had a hard time with drop off but both teachers were incredibly warm and encouraging to both us and him, and now he is doing really well. Thank you CCC!

Do not discount the “aftercare” or afternoon programs at coop preschools. Our son attends Children’s Community Center where the basic preschool day is 9-12:30 but care is offered until 3:30 or 5:30 (and from 8am if needed). The afternoon program has great teachers who are super engaged, and my kid loves the afternoon program. 

My guess is that the “basic” school day at coop preschools runs short because if parent participation is required there is a time limit on how long a chunk of time a school can realistically ask parents to participate. For our afternoon program there is no parent participation requirement; it’s just teachers. For our morning program, families are expected to participate in the classroom one regular day a week 8:45-12:45. 

This recommendation might not be helpful right now, mid-term, but for next school year definitely check out CCC, on Walnut Street in Berkeley.  Our niece was there last year, so we got to know first hand what it is.   Parents participate one day a week, so you experience the pre-school.  Lots of creative play time, outdoor time, teachers respectful and engaged with kids, teaching respect and problem solving.   Only wish I had gone there as a pre-schooler.

Children's Community Center has an amazing outdoor space. If you liked the vibe at ECPC, you'll love Children's Community Center too. At this time of year, it's wait lists everywhere, so do not be deterred by that news. The dust will settle by summer and you'll eventually get in almost everywhere for fall. 

RE: Seeking Co-Op for 3yr old ()

Take a look at CCC (Children's Community Center) in Berkeley. It is a 5-day morning program (with options for extended care) and as a parent you would participate once a week. It's a play based program, offering lots of freedom for kids to choose how to spend their time, and teachers do an excellent job of helping kids figure out the complexities of conflict resolution, etc. - teachers are really fabulous! 

Though it sounds like you may prefer a 3 day option, I will say that a 5 day schedule allows my kid to get into more of a groove/ routine (we had a 3 day schedule at daycare before CCC and my son found it hard to know what to expect on any given day).  

I encourage to ask yourself why you want a school with a smaller class. It sounds like you have a curious child who loves to explore and who felt limited in his/her current space. A bigger school might be a better fit for him/her. My son went to Children's Community Center, a co-op preschool in North Berkeley. The classes are 26 kids each, and it was a bit of an adjustment at first, since my son is an introvert. But he absolutely thrived at CCC, where the teachers and parents go above and beyond to cultivate each child's curiosity. The CCC yard is huge and kids spend much of the time outdoors. 

As far as your environmental concerns, there are some plastic toys, but it's definitely not the majority. Also, nothing is brand-spanking-new so there wouldn't be much off-gassing. I know of families who were very concerned about toxic substances from particle board, new carpets, etc., and they were very happy at CCC. 

If you decide you like it, you can bring your child for a day to see if it's a good fit. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

June 2016

RE: Preschool for high energy kid in Oakland/Berkeley?

Children's Community Center is a play-based co-op preschool in North Berkeley (near Live Oak Park) and it is a great place for high-energy children. Your child will be valued for exactly who s/he is and how s/he contributes to the group. Things I've observed the teachers do with high-energy kids:

  • Learn to manage their big emotions (happy and sad) and learn how to communicate to other children and get their needs met.
  • Support kids in the big-muscle play they need: the kids are allowed to do almost anything they are physically able to (climb trees, structures, etc.); there are supervised wrestling sessions with rules the kids make up themselves.
  • Empathize (and teach other kids to empathize) with the highest-energy children and how hard it is for them to always be ''the leader'' or the one that other kids look to for leadership Have the kids run a few laps around the yard to burn off energy before circle time, if they are particularly energetic that day.

CCC is also co-op preschool, so it's a lot cheaper than other preschools--and they also offer financial aid to families that need it. The school values diversity and has an anti-bias curriculum that even the parents are trained in. Many of the teachers are also from a diverse background. I'm pretty sure there are still a couple openings for the 4-year-old class next fall.

My older son is a student there now and we can't wait to send our younger guy. I can't say enough good things about it. It is preschool nirvana! CCC fan

Oct 2015

RE: Seeking a small, warm, play-based preschool

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 

Feb 2015

RE: Is preschool really necessary if you're a SAHM?

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

May 2014

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

May 2012

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

July 2010

Re: Preschool for 2 1/2 year old, parent participating
I want to highly recommend Children's Community Center (CCC). Website is 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

July 2008

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!!

Feb 2007

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

December 2006

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

February 2005

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 -- -- and take a tour. You'll fall in love with the grounds and the activities available for the children. Satisfied CCCer

April 2003

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

June 2002

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.

May 2002

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

March 1998

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

May 1996

Dear Parents,
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.