How Will WeWork Earn Its $20B Valuation? Elementary School
WeWork continues its push into every facet of modern life, with its newest component aimed at children.
WeWork founding partner and Chief Brand Officer Rebekah Neumann, the wife of founder and CEO Adam Neumann, announced the creation of WeGrow, an elementary school program currently in the first year of its pilot program, to Fast Company on Monday.
The program is currently run out of a New York Chabad school and includes seven children, including the eldest of the Neumanns' five kids.
WeGrow is meant to give students a learning experience more focused on “a culture of kindness,” “conscious entrepreneurship,” and a connection to nature. Focused on participatory and collaborative learning, the 5-, 6- and 8-year-olds have already had hands-on experience raising crops at an upstate New York farm the Neumanns own.
The children then set up a farm stand at a WeWork location in New York, where they sold their goods and made connections with members, including one child who started a mentorship program with a design-focused member. Next year, when WeGrow launches in earnest, it will be located in WeWork's temporary Chelsea headquarters to encourage future encounters like that — and for members to bring their kids to learn in their parents' workplaces.
“We have WeWorks located all around the world, thank God,” Rebekah Neumann told Fast Company. “A lot of members don’t see their kids for many, many hours a day. So I’m passionate about actually opening these schools inside WeWork buildings, so that parents can bring their kids to school, see them possibly at lunch, maybe bring them home.”
Once WeWork's permant headquarters is set up in the former home of Lord & Taylor's flagship store, WeGrow's flagship location will follow suit. From there, the Neumanns plan to grow the school as integrated components of multiple locations, much like the company's fitness concept Rise by We. Like WeWork, WeGrow plans to be able to accommodate members and students as they move around the globe.
WeGrow has enlisted Bjarke Ingels Group to design its educational spaces, and hopes to deploy its members as part-time specialist teachers for its kindergarten-through-fifth grade students. The school is for-profit, with hopes to eventually convert to a not-for-profit model, and promises to reinvest whatever tuition it decides to charge in the school.
Although the Neumanns have not disclosed WeGrow's financial relationship to WeWork, Rebekah told Fast Company, "I know for sure that Adam and I financially are going to be supporting this.”