Creative Learning Preschool grew from a Mommy and Me play center in 2005 to a full-fledged preschool in commercial space in Quebec Square. Lacking a natural outdoor play area, and with changing property management and increasing rents, Rachel Baumel and her husband, Dan Mitzner, co-owners of the school, decided it was time to build a place of their own.
On August 1, 2018, the 5,000-square-foot building with a spacious outdoor playground, parking, and additional classrooms opened at 2578 Moline Street. “We figured out that for what we were paying for rent, we could own our own building, control our own destiny and build something custom-fit for us,” says Mitzner. The new building enabled them to add infant care for a total of five classrooms covering ages 6-weeks-old to 4-years-old, a 30% increase of capacity over the old location. A multi-purpose room was built for the possibility of adding a sixth classroom, but is currently a play area when it’s too cold or hot to play outside.
The outside play area, with grass, trees and landscaping, is a big improvement over the small, cemented play area the school had previously. “We want kids to play and just be kids, so we designed a playground that lets them do that. It’s not overbuilt with big play structures,” says Mitzner. “Our outdoor time is focused on getting your hands dirty in the sand and with projects.”
The school was also designed to be very energy efficient, allowing in plenty of natural light. “We have a very high tech lighting system I’m still trying to learn how to use,” says Mitzner, laughing. “We wanted to create as small of a footprint as we could when it comes to resources, not only to reduce costs but also to be more responsible as land owners and building owners.”
When the couple opened a second location in Wheat Ridge in 2015, there was a waitlist from day one. There is a waitlist for most of the classrooms of the new Creative Learning Preschool location in Stapleton, too. “We think being family-owned and with a student/teacher ratio better than the state requires is a recipe the community rallies around,” says Mitzner.
“We’ve had people say ‘Now that you’ve figured it out, why don’t you go build more?’” But for now, Mitzner says they are just excited to continue to grow into the building they have. “We want to make sure we settle into our groove before we take on anything else.”