WeWork says its job is to help people do what they love. Now the giant is analyzing that ethos to a smaller clientele: kindergartners.
The $20 billion startup, assembled on a huge community of fashionable co-working spaces where entrepreneurs and freelancers rent desks, is creating its own move into kids’s schooling, launching a private elementary school for “conscious entrepreneurship” inside a New York City WeWork following fall. A pilot program of seven pupils, including among the five young kids of WeWork Cos. founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann, is under way.
“#x 2019 & In my novel, there;s no reason why kids in schools can’t be starting their own businesses,”. She believes children should create their passions and act on them early, instead of waiting to grow up to be “disruptive,” as the entrepreneurial group sets it.
The pupils—this pilot harvest is just five to eight years old—spend one day at a 60-acre farm and the remainder of the week at a classroom near the business’s Manhattan headquarters, in which they buy lessons in company by equally employees and entrepreneur-customers of WeWork. Neumann, who attended the elite New York City prep school Horace Mann and Cornell University, studying Buddhism and company, said she’s “rethinking the entire idea about what an education means” but is “non-compromising” about academic standards. The pupils will need to meet or exceed all of the nation’s benchmarks for subjects like math and reading.
In the farm, which the Neumanns bought this past year, “if they’re learning math, they’re not just sitting in a classroom learning about numbers. They are also using amounts to conduct their farm stand#x2019;re reading #x 201D, & about natural cycles of plant life. &#x 2019; It & #x 201C;s an extremely hands-on approach to understanding. ”
WeWork’s schooling ambitions are the latest offshoot of this rapidly expanding firm’s “We” brand, which boosts a seamless integration of purposeful work and a purpose-driven existence—make a life, not just a living, the motto goes. Last year, the business introduced “co-living” homes under WeLive, furnished flats in buildings with shared amenities, planned events and communal spaces (here’s what that’s like). Last month came Rise We &—a centre that includes gym gear, co-ed saunas and yoga courses that join “health” and spirituality together with entrepreneurism—& &;#xA0;a coding boot camp. It’s a brand, atop a property leasing firm, that some critics say is overvalued.
With their foray into education, the Neumanns join a growing list of entrepreneurial billionaires trying to reshape American schooling using their sway and investments. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, together with other technology entrepreneurs, for example, are investing in public, private and charter schools that use technology to foster personalized schooling. While there’s extensive agreement that the state’s schooling system has its own failings, the alternatives are especially fraught since the inheritance, or guinea pigs, are kids.
The children have already gotten lessons in the Neumanns’ employees in creating a brand and using powerful sales methods, and out of Adam Neumann on supply and demand. Mentorships using WeWork customer-entrepreneurs are available. “Basically, anything they might want to learn, we have people at the field that can teach this,” Rebekah Neumann explained. When an eight-year-old girl named Nia, one of the pupils, made T-shirts to sell at the farm stand #x 201C, & the children conduct;we discovered she’s passion and a strong capability for design,” Neumann explained. She’s securing an apprenticeship with fashion designers who rent space.
The hands-on, project-based learning, reassuring kids to ask questions and take ownership of the schooling, sounds just like what “progressive pedagogy has been instructing for 100 years,” said Samuel Abrams, the director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
However, #x & WeWork2019;s “ instrumental approach” to understanding, “ kids to monetize their thoughts is destructive,” Abrams said. &You #x 201C & #x 2019;re sucking the joy out of schooling at a time when children should just be thinking about things like how plants grow and why there are a lot of species. ”
Neumann asserts it’s traditional education that is “squashing out the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity that’s intrinsic to all young kids. ” Then, after school, she explained, “we &;’re asking them to be disruptive and then recover that soul. ”
The Neumanns, who based WeWork in 2010 using the primary creative officer, Miguel McKelvey, began leasing sleek office space into nomadic employees and entrepreneurs. There’s beer on tap, micro-roasted java, and aphorisms about the walls around working hard. However, Adam, WeWork’s CEO, has said he wants the company to be the architect of entire areas.
A former officer at the Israeli Navy who as a kid lived for a time to a kibbutz (McKelvey grew up in a commune), the 38-year-old is following a sort of entrepreneurial utopia, or a “capitalist kibbutz,” in his words. He has even branded hisor her#xA0;clients—now about 150,000 of those in 52 cities around the world—the WeGeneration, a collaborative group that “cares about the Earth, really needs to do cool things, and enjoys working,” since he told Fast Company this past year.
Rebekah, a co-founder and the company’s chief brand officer, established the pilot in September with advice from a family friend, Lois Weisswasser, a former leader of P.S. 41, one of those city’s leading public colleges. For the time being, she’s just two full-time teachers, one from the high-performing P.S. 234 and one from P.S. 77, a gifted-and-talented faculty. The first WeWork school probably will be constructed inside the headquarters and be accessible through a different entrance. WeWork has enlisted the innovative Danish architecture company of Bjarke Ingels, that has designed a building at the World Trade Center campus and a flooding prevention strategy to New York City.
Neumann aims to have about 65 students next fall—with about 10 per at a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old course, and 15 each grouped as kindergarten/first grade, second/third grade, and fourth grade—and then go straight through 12th grade. Her expansive vision for the job, which is called (wait for this) WeGrow, is to open colleges in WeWorks around the world, move into continuing and higher education, and possibly expand the company to training additional educators from WeWork’s pedagogy. WeGrow talks about educating #x 201C & people. ”
It isn’t clear however how all this will likely be funded, although the capital may come from the Neumanns. The business is still working on tuition and expects to make the college “accessible” into a wide swath of parents via a sliding scale according to income, a spokesman said. Private school tuition at New York City can soar past $30,000 annually. WeWork hasn’t decided whether the college needs to be a nonprofit.
A certified yoga instructor and former actress, Neumann sometimes teaches a yoga or play class herself at the pilot program. Do and the children learn how to cook mindfulness and meditation exercises. & Neumann sees the job as “raising conscious global citizens” Who “understand what their superpowers are … and use these abilities and gifts to help each other and help the world. ”
And should parents that are entrepreneurial need to travel for several months? Require the entire family together, Neumann said, awaiting her international eyesight. Additionally, as in New York, the children will be a staircase away.
In her own household, she said, “there are not any lines” between work and life or home and office. “My children are in the office. I’m doing what I really love, he’s doing what he enjoys, they are observing that, and they’re doing what they love. ”
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