Chances are you know Jeff Bezos by now, the founder of Amazon and the richest man in the world as of September 2018 ($162 billion). What you may not know is that this September he also started the Day 1 Academies Fund, a $1 billion commitment to support private Montessori schools in underprivileged areas throughout the U.S. The schools will be 100% scholarship based.
If you're wondering why Mr. Bezos is choosing the Montessori method, Mr. Bezos spent his primary years in a Montessori school, something that the writer of this EdWeek article did not know. Mr. Bezos likely attributes much of his success to the Montessori method, otherwise he would not have chosen such a specific pedagogy to fund with $1 billion of his own money.
What makes Montessori so attractive to Mr. Bezos? He must remember the independence, the self-direction, the self-correction, as well as all the joy that comes from being in charge of your own education from a very young age. Montessori kids are also known as innovators, and certainly Mr. Bezos and Amazon have proven to be worthy of that description as well.
With Montessori still at the forefront of Mr. Bezos' mind after all these years, now is his opportunity to give back to those less fortunate. He also recognizes that unless we start before the age of six, just as Montessori said, society's chances of changing human behavior become less and less as children move past their preschool years.
Montessorians across the U.S. are extremely hopeful that the Day 1 Academies Fund will adhere to an authentic Montessori curriculum for all its schools. In addition, cities with private schools in neighborhoods that do not have a private option will do wonders for each family, not just the children. It's been said that a rising tide lifts all boats. I believe quality Montessori schools placed in underserved neighborhoods will help raise the tides of communities all over the United States.
Apparently, Jeff Bezos agrees.