LREI is and has always been a mission-driven school. The school’s mission permeates everything that transpires here. This is true for the present, as well as the past.
LREI Mission Statement
A leader in progressive education since 1921, LREI teaches children to be independent thinkers who work together to solve complex problems. Students graduate from our diverse community as active participants in our democratic society, with the creativity, integrity, and courage to bring meaningful change to the world.
Elisabeth Irwin founded the Little Red School House in 1921 in the attic room of the P.S. 61 Annex at 535 East 16th Street as an alternative public elementary school. Parents and students loved the new dynamic learning community. It..Read More
From 1925 through the early 1960s, all LREI students spent the month of June in the country. This was called June Camp. LREI continues this tradition with a four-day trip for lower school students we now call the Farm Trip.
In 1934, LRSH organized the first International Exhibition of Children’s Painting at Rockefeller Center, representing work from forty countries. It honored the creativity of children on a scale that had never been imagined before, let alone attempted. Eleanor Roosevelt, the..Read More
Agnes Delima’s The Little Red School House is published. Contributors include Elisabeth Irwin, John Dewey, and LRSH teachers.
EI students interview journalist Celila Ventura about her Italian heritage in an effort to understand the Italian-American community just east of the school. “Instead of interviewing, I was interviewed by thirty well-behaved, friendly children,” Ventura writes. “Their questions ranged from..Read More
LRSH students participated in the American Committee for Yugoslav Relief’s Winter Clothing Campaign to aid Yugoslav children in need.
Paul Coburn, a ten-year-old at LRSH, made a speech before the State Legislature, in favor of the Ives-Quinn Anti-Discrimination Bill, which would make New York the first state to enact legislation curtailing the practice of discriminating against job applicants and employees based on race, religion, or creed...Read More
EI students send ninety Christmas boxes of goods to European children in need in Russia, Yugoslavia, France, and Greece.
Ninth graders visit the Phelps-Dodge Strike at the Phelps-Dodge Copper Products Corporation plant in Elizabeth, NJ. The eight-month-old strike was one of the longest major industrial disputes on record in the nation, resulting in a 18.5% hourly wage increase and..Read More
Broadway star Avon Long performs at EI as part of Black History Week celebration.
As part of E.I.’s observance of Black History Week, Tony-nominated actor Frank Silvera, spoke to students about the history of Black actors in American theatre.
LRSH students make an appeal to Mayor Robert F. Wagner, explaining why building a highway through Washington Square Park would be detrimental to the community.
Herbert Wright, NAACP Youth Secretary, speaks to the EI student council
On Saturday, October 25, 1958, EI students traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the Youth March for Integrated Schools led by A. Philip Randolph, Jackie Robinson, Coretta Scott King, Harry Belafonte, Bayard Rustin.
EI students take a week-long trip to Pennsylvania to visit Amish farms, a steel plant, and a coal mine, among other stops, to learn about the work and lives of others. Read the trip objectives and itinerary here.
LRSH students organize an annual drive to raise funds for UNICEF.
Students from EI picket Woolworths at 39th Street and Fifth Avenue as part of a Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) drive.
Students watched one of the most celebrated documentaries of all time, 1960’s “Harvest of Shame,” in which Edward R. Murrow exposed the plight of America’s farm workers. Students collected $486.00 to pay the expenses of representatives traveling through migrant areas,..Read More
Thirty EI students joined the demonstration on opening day of the 1964 World’s Fair. The students picketed the Louisiana Pavilion led by James Farmer and Bayard Rustin. Four students were arrested including Lisa Fein (Gilford), Liz Leicester, and Tom Hurwitz,..Read More
Joe’s story about his days at LREI reflect a progressive education in action. Listen here.
LREI launches its all-inclusive intramural basketball program for fifth and sixth graders. Through participation on athletic teams students develop their physical skills and the ability to work together toward a common purpose; they also learn to represent the school within..Read More
Lawyer, civil rights activist, and LREI parent William Kunstler spoke to students at the annual Martin Luther King Day assembly.
Lower School Principal Elaine Winter and parent Alice Krauss, along with other parents, found the LREI Lesbian Gay Straight Alliance (LGSA).
Beginning in 1997, LREI hosted an annual traveling photography exhibition entitled “Love Makes A Family” — focused on the families gay and lesbian couples create. In 2010, the LREI community decided to curate its own exhibit, “Visibility: Our LGBTQ+ Community..Read More
In 2001, Shoshana and Suzanne’s first grade class read a book about Ruby Bridges, a first grader and the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on..Read More
LREI marches in the New York City Pride March. For this annual event, LREI shares a float with the Calhoun School complete with a DJ “booth” and rainbows galore. (Photos in slideshow are from 2014)
LREI hires Sharon Dupree as its first Director of Diversity and Community. Sandra “Chap” Chapman (also pictured here on the right) becomes Director of Equity and Community in 2007.
One of the major themes of the eighth grade curriculum is active citizenship. In humanities classes, students work on the “Social Justice Project.” Students identify civil and human rights topics in which they are interested, and work in small groups..Read More
On Friday, December 7, 2012, students took the ferry to Staten Island to help in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
LREI students participated in Drink Up, a collaboration to encourage everyone to drink more water between the Partnership for a Healthier America – which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chairwoman Michelle Obama to make the healthy choice..Read More
The Charlton Street Arts Pavilion opens, a five-story visual and performing arts addition at the High School with classrooms and studios designed to inspire and to create space to better support progressive practice.
LREI students featured in New York Magazine’s annual “Reasons to Love New York ” 12th edition, 2016: No. 2 | Because Even Our Protesters Are Precocious. Read the full article here.
Gloria Steinem, feminist journalist and social political activist, visited Ileana Jiménez’ Feminism class.
LREI’s production of The Laramie Project premiered during election week of November 2016 – a fractious and memorable moment in political history, when hate speech was again on the rise. The students who participated in the play hosted an audience talkback..Read More
LREI students travel to Albany to protest the Constitution Pipeline.
LREI’s first Transgender and Non-Binary Inclusion Assembly
Thousands Protest Against Gun Violence Across the U.S., including LREI students from all three divisions. The younger students stood in with signs outside of the Sixth Avenue building while high school students joined crowds of protesters in Washington Square Park...Read More
Each year, the fourth grade writes and performs a play centered around their social studies curriculum, which is typically focused on contemporary immigration, historical immigration, civil rights, current events, and social justice. These topics are never fully predetermined – students’..Read More
Sustainable LREI sponsors an annual beach cleanup at Rockaway Beach. In 2018, they collected over 200 lbs of trash.
The Fours didn’t want to be left out of the climate change movement. They rallied in the hallways of Sixth Avenue, visiting classrooms and proudly displaying signs to build awareness through their own “Silent March for Climate Change”.
Ellana Lawrence ’18 travels to South Africa with a group that seeks to train and inspire a new generation of ethically minded STEM workers.
One practice that is grounded in our progressive principles is the field trip, an approach to learning that was pioneered at LREI. Through the trip, we seek to take learning out into the world and to then bring the world..Read More
LREI launches a collective, school-wide effort called The Democracy Project to uphold this country’s core democratic values. The Democracy Project is a student-led initiative to help the LREI student community become more knowledgeable on and involved in the democratic process,..Read More
Fourteen students from the high school ‘Exile and Immigration’ class came together in conversation with four of New Sanctuary Coalition’s community members – three friends recently released from detention and a family member. This series, “Finding Light: Sharing Experiences of..Read More
In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of LREI, we are cataloging 100 Acts of Service. Click here to see the photos. Each of these opportunities will incorporate a service-learning component. The service-learning component frames and contextualizes the service opportunity through..Read More