The Mandell School was founded in 1939 by Max Mandell, a pioneer in early childhood education.
Mr. Mandell believed that, in order to flourish, every young child must have a nurturing and stimulating environment focused on providing for their unique and individual development. He also believed that supporting the families of young children is a significant part of an educator’s role. Mr. Mandell strove to expand the horizons of his students, and understood the importance of exposing children to different environments and experiences.
Mr. Mandell, was born in Romania in 1908 and immigrated, with his family, to the United States in 1911. During his teenage years, he worked as a packer at a hat company during the day while attending Brooklyn Evening High School. Mr. Mandell studied business at City College, but from the beginning, his focus was on children. He served as a Boy Scout Scoutmaster and worked with adolescents for four years at Bellevue Hospital. In 1939, he started The Condaca Boys Outdoor Play Group, which would grow in popularity and, at the urging of parents in the neighborhood, eventually become The Mandell School, open to both boys and girls.
A brownstone, on 94th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues in Manhattan, served as both a school and a home to the Mandell family. The basement, first and second floors were used as classrooms and the family lived on the third and fourth floors. During the fall of 2000, Mandell expanded to include a Toddler program, a series of small class sessions for children two years of age. In 2005, the brownstone was renovated so that all four floors could be dedicated to classroom space.
Mandell opened its ongoing school, beginning with a building on 96th Street, during the fall of 2008. During the fall of 2010, expansion into new spaces at 775 Columbus Avenue and 795 Columbus Avenue, including a new 50,000 square foot facility, took place. These adjacent buildings house the Lower School, the Upper School, and the Upper West Side Preschool. In 2012, Mandell opened a second Preschool location in Lincoln Square and, in September 2013, a third Preschool location in the West Village.