WeWork — the co-working giant that recently became the largest office tenant in both London and New York — has opened the pilot scheme for its first WeGrow school.
The education centre is based in Chelsea, Manhattan, and was designed by Bjarke Ingels Architects (BIG).
The school, which it educates children between the ages of three and nine, is modelled on the Montessori Method, in which children are encouraged to learn through working with educational objects and materials rather than direct instruction. The WeGrow circumulation will include mindfulness, meditation, farming and cooking, as well as activities that develiop an understanding of traditional subjects such as English and Maths.
In order to support this system, BIG’S design is expansive and open plan. The classroom — Montessori schools place children of all ages in the same class — is punctuated by movable circular platforms in green upholstery and pebble-like cushions. The use of organic shapes and natural materials and colours alludes to nature.
A series of wooden constructions, some of which are suspended from the ceiling, encourage children to play with and clamour inside, as well as to enact individual learning processes. Pupils will be given one-on-one tutorials with WeWork employees, in order to stimulate thought regarding their future careers.
WeGrow is available to local children as well as those of WeWork members and employees. In 2019, the school will move to WeWork’s new headquarters in Lord & Taylor’s former flagship store on Fifth Avenue. WeWork founding partner Rebekah Neumann has plans to eventually expand the school to other locations.
WeGrow is WeWork’s latest expansion from their co-working model, which include co-living apartments and a health centre. Earlier this year, Bjarke Ingels was announced as the company’s chief architect.
The school, intended to be the first of several, is based on the Montessori Method.