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 that focuses on and provides for their unique and individual development. He also believed that supporting the families of young children was a significant part of an educator’s role. The Mandell School was founded on these beliefs and under the care of his daughter, Barbara Rowe and his granddaughter, Gabriella Rowe, continues to foster and build on them today.
Mr. Mandell, was born in Romania in 1908. In 1911, his family immigrated to the United States. In his teenage years he worked as a packer at a hat company during the day while attending Brooklyn Evening High School at night. 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 for four years with disturbed adolescents at Bellevue Hosopital. In 1939, he started the Condaca Boys Outdoor Play Group, which would eventually become The Mandell School. Originally, a playgroup only for boys, it would expand to include girls. Mr. Mandell believed it was important to expose children to different environments and experiences. He strived to expand the horizons of his students. Condaca Play Group was extremely popular with families. The parents in the neighborhood asked Mr. Mandell to open a nursery school; The Mandell Nursery School and Kindergarten begins.
A brownstone building on 94th Street in Manhattan between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues 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. In 2005, The Mandell School renovated this building so that all four floors could be dedicated to classrooms. In the fall of 2000, The Mandell School expanded to include a Toddler program, a series of small class sessions for children two years of age. The Toddler and Pre-Nursery programs offer an enjoyable and stimulating environment that functions as a great transition from home to school.
The Mandell School opened its ongoing school, beginning with a building on 96th Street in fall 2008. This building now houses Mandell's Pre School Division. In the fall of 2010, Mandell expanded into a new 60,000 square foot facility at 775 and 795 Columbus Avenue. These adjacent buildings house the Elementary Division, the Preparatory Division, and the Library and Invention Lab.