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Our History

Peek-A-Boo CaterpillarCreative Minds Learning Centers were founded in 1997 by Ken and Jacqueline McKinster due to the overwhelming need for quality child care programs.

The McKinsters searched for child care options at the time their son, KJ was born. Jacqueline began taking classes for ECE and received her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Art Studies.

They called the schools "Creative Minds" which reflects their vision of being open minded to creative input from children, teachers and families. The belief still stands at CMLC that everyone has something special to offer our schools, programs and community of children we serve.

Creative Minds Learning Centers were created, meeting the needs of families searching for quality child care programs in smaller, secure environments and uniquely designed spaces. They raised the bar by offering excellent student to teacher ratios and healthy meals in a structured and educational setting.

KJThe McKinsters opened their first school, the Gateway school in 2000. This school was a preschool in the community for over thirty years and needed major remodeling. The McKinsters actually lived in the school for a short time, giving up everything they owned for this dream with their son KJ.

The Woodstock school was opened in 2005 after an extensive remodel. This school was originally built in 1968 as a Nursery school. This school features three classrooms and a private, partially covered playground and garden space.

The Broadway school was built and created in November 2008 with a vision of a natural environment featuring classrooms named after trees native to Oregon. Tree branches, facades and a natural garden are all elements featured in this and all of our schools.

The Westmoreland school was opened in January 2010 and this school showcases beautifully designed classrooms with murals for Infants - Pre Kindergarten children, a community room to borrow books from our lending library, an indoor gross motor area and a children's garden and outdoor enrichment area.

The Sellwood school was opened in 2011 to meet the needs of the community.This school features a community room to nurse your baby, an indoor gross motor area and a private, attached children's garden and naturally designed outdoor playground space.

Our new Happy Valley school was opened January of 2013 and is located at 12771 SE Sunnyside Road, Clackamas, OR 97015 (in the Clackamas/ Happy Valley community). This school features environmentally friendly classrooms with creative artwork and murals by a professional artist.

Our new Tualatin school opened in August, 2015, and this school features environmentally friendly classrooms with creative artwork and murals by a professional artist. This school is a wonderful addition to our network of schools, serving the Southwest Portland, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin areas!

Creative Minds has an incredible team which contributes to successfully creating CMLC's program and schedule to be a visionary and innovative approach to support families and staff as they journey with young children through the primary years of school and their educational experience. This Creative Team develops and mirrors the values and goals of the overall program and it's relationship with families. They uphold the primary aim of the school, which is to give children, staff and families an artistic and creative experience in an educational and creative setting.

KJ with TrophyDedicated to the memory of KJ

Creative Minds family and staff suffered a huge loss when KJ Mckinster passed away on April, 11 2008 at the age of 12 years old. He was involved in an accident while pursuing his passion of racing cars hoping one day to race F-1 cars. He was a straight A student and a high achiever. KJ will always be CMLC's first student and the schools will continue to be a reflection of his wonderful spirit during his short time with us.

The Mckinsters are passionate about Creative Minds since they were founded because of their son and they want children to benefit from the extraordinary programs KJ loved so much.

Creative Minds Learning Centers are dedicated in memory of KJ McKinster- 6/16/95- 4/11/2008.

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Schedule a Meet and Greet

For Assistance with scheduling a Meet and Greet (or general questions), please call 503-252-0004.

We look forward to meeting your family.