Creative Play Center (Albany)

Albany, CA

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Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
Shelley Cadman
(510) 524-9399
TheCreativePlayCenter [at]
Portland & Cornell
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
Ages Served: 
36 months - 72 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Additional Services & Features: 
K-5 afterschool available
Editors' Notes: 

The afterschool program is called "The Homework Club"

Parent Reviews

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Archived Reviews: 

Oct 2012

The Creative Play Center in Albany is an absolutely wonderful preschool. I have been very, very happy with it and my daughter loves it too. My daughter has thrived socially and emotionally in such a supportive and fun environment. My daughter started school rather shy and has since become much more confident, open and outgoing. The teachers are great, very energetic and talented at working with this age group. The school offers a good mix of free play time and also group or individual projects (art, cooking) led by the teacher. There are themes that run for a few weeks at a time, which range from topics like community (with trips to the fire-station or the dentist), farms and food growing (visiting the farmers' market and also a local farm), or Egypt (learning about pyramids and making papyrus paper). There is also weekly gym class (at Head over Heals) and music class (teacher Kyle comes to the school) which the kids seem to love. CPC is also very parent-friendly with extended hours both before school and after, as well as camps that run during school holidays (following the Albany school schedule). This was something I didn't think about when enrolling but after seeing parents at other schools trying to juggle long preschool holidays I was extremely grateful for all the optional child-care. The rates are also very reasonable. Overall a lovely preschool! Lauren

August 2012

Re: Affordable Preschool in Albany/El Cerrito/Richmond
I highly recommend the Creative Play Center in Albany as an affordable and enriching preschool! We just finished the first week of the school year and the children are so happy and excited for what's to come! The teachers have all been there for many years and they provide a very warm, safe and fun environment with lots of opportunities to learn and grow. The school takes many educational field trips and has vans equipped with child safety seats. My child has been in the preschool for a year now and every morning he asks me ''do I get to go to school today?'' He lets out a very disappointed moan if I say that it is the weekend and the school is closed. That in itself has been an endorsement for the school. CPC also offers after school care for preschool through elementary school kids. There are currently just a few open spots for the 2012-2013 school year. This preschool is a hidden gem in Albany! happy CPC parent

Jan 2007

Can anyone give me some info and feedback on the Creative Play Center preschool in Albany? (The reviews are from 2003!). I have a tour scheduled for the beginning of February. Thanks!! Jena

CPC Preschool is a wonderful little place. I chose it for my daughter three years ago because I liked the staff, the ratio (4:1), the small size, the many toys and activities, and the cheerful atmosphere. Now my three year old daughter is there and will be there for another year. The kids go to gymnastics once a week and have a music teacher come in once a week (in addition to singing every day). Every day the kids have large group activities (such as circle time), free play, and small group activities, usually a science or art project. The hours are not the best for us \x96 the start time is no earlier than 8:00 am, and the school follows the Albany School District holiday schedule, which may or may not work for you. If CPC is closed for a long holiday, they usually run a \x93camp\x94 for that week or two, and you can sign up for it, but that costs extra. The summer camp is great. If your child stays longer than 1:00pm, which a number do two or more days a week, then your child will get to interact with the Homework Club kids \x96 a bonus if you have older siblings in this program or when your kids are older, they may still see their old preschool friends after school in CPC\x92s Homework Club. The shining star of the school is the main teacher, Erica, who really has a talent with little kids. My daughters both love her, and my seven year old still draws pictures for her. Feel free to email me, if you have any questions. Kira

Nov 2003

A friend just recommded the Creative Play Center in Albany and the reviews in the archives are all at least three years old. Anybody with current or more recent experiences to share? In particular, can anybody comment on what it has been like to be a young one in a mixed group (ours would be almost 2 1/2 if she started next fall.) Also, many parents in the archives commented on the consistency and long-term relationship that the director has with her staff. Are they all still there? thanks, Kathleen

I (and my now older kids) LOVE the Creative Play Center/Homework Club. My youngest started there at 2 1/2 (she is now 10). I have found it to be safe, warm, caring, and structured (but not too structured: plenty of time for creative play!). For me one of the big differences is the respectful way that the staff interact with the kids. The staff has been there a long time, and obviously love their work and the kids. Both my kids have GREAT homework habits, something I completely attribute to the structure they learned at the Homework Club (the after school care for older kids).

July 2000

I recently visited the Creative Play Center in Albany. The center is run by three women with several years of experience; the owner (who also works at the center) has been in the preschool / childcare business for something like 20 years. The main program is from 9-1, which is $400.00 for M-F. Extended care for the full day is between 800 and 950 a month, depending on the hours you need. We decided not to enroll due to the cost, but overall the program seemed great. They also have themes that change every couple of weeks, and had just had a luau in which the parents participated, when I visited. They have a summer preschool "camp" that you sign up for weekly.

We enrolled both our daughter and son at the Creative Play Center when we moved to Albany two years ago. We had our son in the preschool, and our daughter in the after school care program they call Homework Club." I have nothing but praise for the center and owner/operator Shelley, and her two employees Erika and Renee. They run a fun, interesting program for the children, are understanding and caring, and have been very flexible in accommodating our schedules. This past year our son was in kindergarten and they picked him up after school and took him to the "Homework Club" until my wife picked him up after lunch.


Jan 1999

My now 9-yr-old son went to Shelly's (that's what we called it - she is the director) for 3 years before he went to kindergarten. It was a great place for our family. It was very consistent: he had the same three teachers the whole time and since he was very shy, this proved to be very comforting to him. He was an only child at the time and the mixed age group was very appropriate for him as well. I also liked the diversity of the kids - many were from UC Village. Shelly is generous, has great toys and is very experienced (she has run this business for over 25 years I believe). Her staff stays with her for a long time because she pays them well and is a nice person. She is very down to earth, practical and relaxed. This is a classic preschool, not high energy or overachieving, but provides the basics in a very safe and loving environment. The outside space is great. The only complaint I had was the inside space sometimes felt cramped. My son loved this school, and we have attended several events there over the years. He has very fond memories of his time there.  Ellen

Oct 1998

Our daughter's preschool, The Creative Play Center, has 2 openings for the morning program (9-1pm) and 1 opening for aftercare for a full time girl (afterschool to 5 or 6pm). The morning is a regular preschool program and has 12 students and the afternoon is a homework and after school care program. They will pick up from Albany schools. They have a music teacher come in on Monday mornings and take the children to Windmill Gymnastics on Tuesday mornings. They also have cooking one day. We have been very happy with the teachers and the program. It is in Albany at the corner of Cornell and Portland, phone 524-9399.

Aug 1996

My daughter's child care, Creative Play Center in Albany (Cornell St and Portland St, or thereabouts), has an opening or two for a 4-year-old boy, and possibly more kids.

My daughter's been there a year and loves it. My wife and I were pleasantly impressed by it when we visited it and found out the woman runing it (Shelley) had been doing so for more than a dozen years, one of the other women teaching (Renee) had been there for six years (and is very empathetic), and the "newcomer", Erika, had been there for three years.

Their phone number is 524-9399.


Aug 1996

I second the recommendation for the Creative Play Center in Albany. My son went there for two years and had a wonderful experience. Shelley (the owner, director, and head teacher) is a treasure and the other teachers, Renee and Erika, are great. Their different styles balance one another nicely. I especially liked the small group aspect (10-12), the consistency of the childcare providers and the environment (Shelley has a weakness for toys, and they've got great ones). Ellen