Our Story

The story of the Red Balloon began in 1972. Families living at 560 Riverside Dr. were in need of childcare. The building offered a space for the school and together the families created a small Parent Cooperative. It was like a perfect storm, as the Red Balloon grew as a quality preschool the need in the community for us grew. We were offered more space in the building and we opened up the school to the wider community. Even as we expanded in size and number we never lost our sense of family and community and we still remain one of the most diverse play-based schools in the area. We have a supportive and challenging learning environment which builds on the children’s sense of excitement, curiosity, and wonderment in the world around them.

Our Mission

The Red Balloon creates a three-way partnership with parents, children, and the school community. We encourage intellectual curiosity, creative risk-taking, and problem-solving in a nurturing social environment.

Our Philosophy

We believe that children learn best when they have caring adults to guide, respect, and provide challenges for them as individuals and as important members of a group.

That our small sized classrooms and experienced staff allow for personal attention. Ours is a school where individual personalities are endorsed and encouraged. We have a three-way partnership between the parents, children, and school community, creating a strong team.

We also recognize that children are unique and learn at different rates and in different styles. We provide an emerging curriculum that is play based, exploratory and child centered. Our teachers give each child the love, attention, and nurturing they need while creating and facilitating a challenging developmentally appropriate curriculum.

Skills your child will need to succeed in 2035 and beyond:

  • Strong interpersonal competence
  • Problem solving techniques
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Persistence
  • Flexibility

How do we achieve that at the Red Balloon, through a play-based curriculum.

We encourage parent involvement in school activities and believe that parental support in early childhood education has long-lasting positive effects on children’s academic performance, self-esteem, emotional development, and general wellbeing.

Hours and Classroom age range

Do you have at least five weeks of vacation plus 1 or 2 months off in the summer? At the Red Balloon we understand most families do not. We are open 12 months a year and do not close for a mid-winter or spring vacation. We support your need. Our doors open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. Children can come as late as 9:30 and get picked up from 4:00 on. Breakfast is served from 9:00–9:25. We also provide a healthy hot lunch for the children as well as an afternoon snack.

Along with a five-day program we also have a very limited two-day and a three-day program, all are full-day. The children range in age from 2 years old to 5 years old. We have three classrooms for different age groups. Children are at the following age ranges when the enter these classrooms:

Classrooms and age range:

Yellow Room:           ages 2’s (12 children)
Blue Room:               ages of 2.9–3.6 (15 children)
Orange Room:          ages of 3–4 (15 children)

The children are given time at the end of the day to intermingle with the other children as well as become acquainted and comfortable with all of the staff.

Each room has three staff members, and at least 1 in each classroom has their Masters in Early Childhood Education with State Certification.

“We have been a part of the Red Balloon community for two years and have loved it! Our son has thrived with the support and care of so many loving teachers and is so fortunate to also have many close friends in his class. We feel so lucky that this has been his first school experience.”
We feel very blessed to be a Red Balloon scholarship family. The preschool is a treasure in Upper Manhattan and our 3 sons have been nurtured with exceeding love and care. The entire staff is very supportive and always provides routine updates on growth, progress, and development. The team is warm, loving, and patient, providing the kids with a ...
Ros Pereira April, 24 2018
It was a wonderful combination of nurturing, challenging and learning Our daughter, who’s now 13, had an amazing start at the Red Balloon. It was a wonderful combination of nurturing and challenging. I’ll never forget how she, at age 2, was expected to bus her own dishes after breakfast – and she did it! She was given responsibilities and ...
Janet Thaler May 13, 2014
The Red Balloon is more than a school, it’s a family, a second home My Son attended Red Balloon for two meaningful years. Red Balloon’s approach to social emotional development was just what he needed as he began to navigate the world around him. We appreciate the way he was encouraged to be curious, care for others and learn ...
Darleny Cepin, MA May 13, 2014 Columbia University
The Red Balloon was a wonderful place to start Hi Norma, Seems so long ago! Declan attended Anderson from Sept 2002 to June 2011, and now Beacon High School from Sept 2011 to present, expected graduation is June 2015. We’re looking at colleges now and can let you know where he ends up this time next year! The Red ...
Janet Moy May 19, 2014
The Red Balloon is more than a school, it’s a family, a second home Very rarely do you find such a caring environment that not only provides the children with and exceptional learning experience but also a staff with a support system that genuinely cares for each and every single child on a personal level. Our son Chance, now ...
Monica Romero 05/20/2014