Welcome to The Red Balloon!
We are an early childhood learning center founded in 1972 and housed in a spacious facility within a Columbia University residential building.
Our center provides a year-long, full-week, full-day program for children 2-5 years old. We also have limited partial-week, full day programs. Our doors open at 8am and close at 6pm. We provide breakfast, a hot fresh lunch, and an afternoon snack in a "nut-free" environment.
The Red Balloon strives to be a model of exemplary early childhood education practices. We partner with families to create a safe nurturing environment where children are encouraged to reach their full potential while planting the seed for lifelong learning.
It was a lucky day in 1972 when Rebecca Rikleen along with several other families living in 560 RIverside Drive got together and founded The Red Balloon. Though it began as a small Parent Cooperative, run by these families it soon grew requiring more space and a larger professional staff. Columbia University donated this spectacular space and a new staff was hired.
Over the years, the school decided to incorporate the ACS program in order to help local needy families with scholarship. The ACS program recently dropped us but our philosophy of assisting families with financial aid has continued. We believe the uniqueness of our diverse learning community helps children and their families value differences ultimately leading to increased understanding, empathy and acceptances of all members of our society.
We inspire children to test the water of Life. We understand that true learning is about taking risks. With encouragement and supervision, we embolden our children to work through challenges and forge ahead into new territories where all adults and children work together as a community.