We still feel so lucky to have been a part of the Red Balloon family
My daughter, Natalie attended the Red Balloon from 2008-2011, followed by kindergarten and 1st grade at The Neighborhood School (TNS), a progressive public school in the East Village. Though we loved TNS and felt that it had a similar philosophy and community feel that we had come to love at Red Balloon, our situation changed and we moved Natalie to Ella Baker, another public progressive school on the Upper East Side that is open to citywide residents. Natalie is currently in 2nd grade at Ella Baker and is doing well, both socially and academically.
In all of our experiences with various schools, teachers, administrators and styles, we still feel so lucky to have been a part of the Red Balloon family. The benefit of receiving an early childhood education at the Red Balloon is evident in Natalie's critical thinking and interpersonal skills, which she developed early on. She demonstrates a sense of fairness and empathy that was actively supported at the Red Balloon, and which I have not seen to this extent in other programs. The quality of the teachers, combined with their nurturing of an extremely racially and economically diverse body of students and families is a rare find in NYC. As a parent, I always felt safe and welcome in the school, and found the home-to-school connection there to be practiced in a way that schools of all levels often only pay lip service to.
I have referred many colleagues and neighborhood residents to the Red Balloon, as I feel that it is a very special community oriented school where families of all configurations are celebrated, respected, and can feel like full partners in their children's early learning experiences.