Dear MCNS families and friends,

It is with bittersweet emotions that I am announcing to all of you (although I suspect that most of you already have heard through the "grapevine") that I will be retiring as Director of MCNS at the end of August 2018.  I will have served the school for forty years, a very, very long time in the early childhood school world.  For all of these years, MCNS has been the center of my professional life, and it really never occurred to me that I should or would move to another program or situation.  From the beginning of my time here, I have loved and cherished this special school that has meant so much to the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Washington Heights and Inwood communities and has served hundreds of children and their families for more than sixty years!

In May 2017 I notified the Board of Trustees of my intent to retire.  As no one currently within the MCNS community was here when I began my career, I wanted to allow ample time for the selection of a search committee, which includes Board members, an MCNS teacher, and one of the school's consultants. It was important to inform and speak with staff members and develop a plan and schedule for the search. All of the components have occurred or been prepared, and the actual search will begin now. The Board hopes to appoint a new director within the next four to five months who will begin her or his position in June or July.

Updates and reports of the search process will be provided in newsletters and other communications from the Board.  Everyone involved in this endeavor looks forward to choosing a dynamic new director who can guide the school into the future.

I will leave MCNS with the comfort of knowing that it has a wonderfully committed and devoted Board; a highly professional, dedicated, and stable administration and faculty; and an impressively qualified group of specialists and consultants.  With the new director the school will have all the components in place to thrive in the years to come.

I am grateful to all of you for your support for, devotion to, and participation in the life of the school through the years.
Most sincerely,
Howard E. Johnson


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Director's Welcome

MCNS provides a nurturing and child-centered environment where a diverse group of students and teachers plays, learns, and grows together. Our beautiful facility, with light and airy classrooms, provides the perfect setting for children’s activities and an exciting bridge between our children’s families and homes and the much larger world beyond. 

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The Mission of The Medical Center Nursery School, an early childhood school affiliated with and supported by Columbia University, is to provide a secure, nurturing, developmentally appropriate educational setting for children aged two to six.

We serve children from the following communities: Columbia University; New York Presbyterian Hospital; the New York State Psychiatric Institute; and northern Manhattan, specifically the Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods.

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The school is accepting applications for the 2018-2019 academic year. Additionally, applications are welcome for the limited seats still open for the 2017-2018 academic year.



Read why other families have made the decision to enroll.


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Benefits of Preschool

Although many benefits of early childhood education are apparent during the time children attend any appropriate program many may not be readily apparent until later. Read about current thoughts regarding the long term benefits of quality early childhood education.


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