The school was organized in 1955 by a small group of parents supported by the Women's Auxiliary of the Presbyterian Hospital in the City of New York. Originally, it was planned as a parent cooperative program to serve the children of medical interns and residents, with an advisory board comprised of Auxiliary members and prominent attending physicians.

The first students were enrolled in October 1957 when the school opened in a small ground-floor apartment on West 165th Street between Broadway and Fort Washington Avenue. Seventeen children attended that first year. In March 1963, the school was granted its charter as an independent school by the Board of Regents for the Education Department of the University of the State of New York. In September 1971, when the Bard-Haven Towers were completed, the school became affiliated with Columbia University and moved to its present facility in Tower 1 at 60 Haven Avenue.

Preschoolers Set the Pace at Medical Center Nursery” - Columbia University Record, May 1993

One of the 10 best day-care centers in the country” - Columbia University Record, May 1994

Columbia-affiliated nursery school has served the university and community for nearly half a century” - In Vivo, September 2003

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