Public School 61 Complex: 101 Years of Progressive Education

Public School 61 opened in September 1913 and closed in 1996, but three public schools continue the legacy of progressive, experiential, community-based education in the building. This is where Little Red Schoolhouse was founded, and this is where poor children could get an education.The three schools operating there today have much in common with the educators and students that previously walked the halls of Public School 61.

Living Up to Its Creed

Article from journal School XXI about Public School 61. Perhaps the most detailed information about the school during its early years.

School Nature League Award Diploma

The School Nature League promoted science education and naturalism among urban students who were unable to travel outside Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the other boroughs. Using preserved specimens, students would study nature, or grow plants and flowers indoors. They would display their specimens and greenery in special shows. Public School 61 held a large School Nature League show during the December 1920 season.

A Love Letter to a City School

Dolores Dolan wrote this article praising Public School 61 at a time when many parents thought it was too dangerous or low quality to send their children. She describes a vibrant and committed community.

On Christmas Day No More Current Events - Poems By Schoolchildren

This New York Times article from December 11, 1970 published poems from Public School 61 schoolchildren and remarks from Columbia professor and poet Kenneth Koch.

Ration Book

Use this ration book to simulate rationing in your classroom. Students can use the ration books to track their lunch meals, and think about what they are actually consuming. Print one copy for each student, and have them hand back tickets when they consume food.

Public School 61 Complex Door

Circa 2010. From Wikipedia.


Charles B. J. Snyder

Public School 61 Architect Charles B. J. Snyder. Circa 1920.


Richard E. Heningham

Richard E. Heningham was the builder of Public School 61. Circa 1915.


Public School 61 Cafeteria Door

A teacher and child look out of the cafeteria in 1952. From LIFE Magazine.



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