It isn’t what they had planned, but it’s what needed to happen. At the end of May, Rachel Baumel and her husband, Dan Mitzner, found themselves with the sudden opportunity to grow their preschool program both in space and ages they could serve. Creative Learning Preschool has expanded their space into their former Baby Power location next door, enabling them to offer full- and part-time preschool for ages 12 months to 3 years plus after-school care up to age 10. At the same time, the couple has been working toward the January opening of a new location in Wheat Ridge. With the changes in name and expansion of services, the couple isn’t surprised that people are a little confused about their business. But they see it as evolving with the needs of the community.
When Baumel, a family law attorney and mediator, and Mitzner, who does software marketing, first moved to Stapleton in 2003, the couple, as parents and foster parents, wanted to start a business serving children. After having difficulty finding childcare for their own kids that offered the right mix of learning and play, they knew other parents were having the same struggle. The business they opened, Baby Power, in a commercial strip along East 35th in Quebec Square, started with mommy-and-me open gym classes. They added mom’s-morning-out opportunities that then grew into a preschool offering more curriculum and structure, all under the Baby Power name. When they sold Baby Power, they moved their preschool next door, calling it Creative Learning Preschool, serving ages 2–4 while the new Baby Power owner kept the under-2 program. Many people didn’t realize the businesses were unrelated, which caused some confusion.
In May, the owner of Baby Power abruptly closed the business, leaving parents of younger children in need of childcare. Despite having funds and efforts focused on their new location, Baumel and Mitzner knew they needed to expand the Stapleton location to take on the needs of the other families. Thanks to cooperation and flexibility from the landlord and many hours of work (recruiting their 11- and 13-year-old daughters to help create some of the artwork and other tasks), Creative Learning Center opened mid-September with more space, more teachers and more children.
There are part-time and full-time spots available for children from 12 months to 4 years plus an after-school program for 3–10-year-olds. The current center has classrooms, a large gym, a homework room and a newly expanded 1,500-square-foot outside play space.
Because they are the business owners, not teachers, Baumel and Mitzner feel they offer a unique take. “We bring a different perspective as owners and parents,” says Baumel. “I love the fact that my standard is what I would want for my children, and I have really high standards. It has shaped our program. Dan and I want certain things for our children and that’s what we want for everyone else’s children too.”
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