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Jeff Bezos of Amazon pledges major gift to Montessori

Montessori Alumnus, Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com, Pledges $2 Billion for Montessori Preschools Serving Low-Income Children and to Address Homelessness

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos

September 16, 2018

In case you missed this story in Friday's news, Montessori alumnus, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, MacKenzie, pledged to donate two billion dollars to launch a network of Montessori preschools serving young children from low-income families and creating new support systems to help address homelessness in America.

As Mr. Bezos told the New York Times on Friday, the new education effort plans to build and run a national non-profit network of free Montessori preschools to serve low-income children. "I'm excited about that because it will give us an opportunity to learn, invent, and improve. The child will be the customer."

The gift of a Montessori education ultimately enables children to become individuals, who can think for themselves, think of others, and think out-of-the-box.

The New York Times article adds, "Mr. Bezos went to Montessori schools and has said it developed his sense of exploration and focus." We believe it is no accident that two of the three most successful companies in the world (Amazon and Google) were founded by former Montessori students. Jeff Bezos, Larry Paige, and Sergei Brin were given the opportunity, in the microcosm of their Montessori classrooms, to develop the skills required for success in today's world. The gift of a Montessori education ultimately enables children to become individuals, who can think for themselves, think of others, and think out-of-the-box.

Why this matters

As you know, NewGate serves as the Lab School of The Montessori Foundation, which puts us at the crossroads of efforts to change the direction of education policy and teaching across the United States and abroad.

The Montessori Foundation is part of a collaborative team of Montessori organizations, universities, researchers, and public-policy groups that are working together to redefine education in America from the ground up. Our goal is to bring schools into alignment with a century of research into child psychology, mental health, brain development, and common-sense thought about how schools can best prepare children for an ever-changing future.

While this proposed project may not impact NewGate directly, it is a milestone for Montessori as a whole and will benefit children in untold ways.

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos' pledge is only the latest from a growing number of prominent figures, who not only advocate for Montessori as a key part of the future of school reform but are beginning to make major personal investments in its advancement.

We, as friends and families of NewGate, are in good company, and the wisdom of our own leap of faith is endorsed by a growing community of leaders and researchers who recognize that what is most important is not what a child 'knows' on the day of a test but what a child 'can do and accomplish.' The development of character, perseverance, kindness, compassion, honesty, and integrity pay off in the 'real world.'

The Bezos' contribution is important in its sheer size and as a signal for what is to come. At NewGate, we already make strategic investments in the community. Our self-funded need-based financial-aid program comes from the school's friends and families, alumni, and The Montessori Foundation. We have done so much together. The best is yet to come.

From decades of experience, we know that Montessori works. It is gratifying to see the growing body of evidence and support for investment in the development of fully implemented Montessori programs everywhere.

NewGate and The Montessori Foundation share the same commitment to helping young people become avid learners and able leaders. We work to 'learn, invent, and improve' the educational experience of every NewGate student every day.

We realize that traditional ways of thinking about education are deeply ingrained, but The Montessori Foundation and our colleagues around the world work tirelessly to change minds and get the word out.

Bezos' original tweet


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