A Bezos Academy preschool for low-income families is set to open this fall in Federal Way, according to Federal Way Public Schools.
The Montessori-inspired Bezos Academy preschool will serve 40 students at the former DeVry building, 3600 S. 344th Way, which is owned by Federal Way Public Schools.
The Bezos Academy Federal Way site is starting with two classrooms in fall 2021. The school district said the program is expected to grow to reach more students in the future.
Bezos Academy is a nonprofit organization establishing a network of tuition-free preschools for low-income families. The preschools offer full-day learning five days a week, year-round, for children ages 3-5. Bezos Academy also provides students with educational supplies and services, including Montessori materials, books, arts and crafts, field trips, and meals.
In February, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos previously announced a Bezos Academy preschool will open this fall at McCarver Elementary School near the Hilltop neighborhood in Tacoma. A Bezos Academy in Des Moines opened in September 2020.
“I’m thrilled Federal Way Public Schools will benefit from this kind of investment in early learning programs,” said Superintendent Tammy Campbell. “Programs like these can change the lives of our children, putting them on a trajectory starting in the early years to help them reach their highest potential.”
There is a high demand for more preschool programs in Federal Way and a lack of affordable access to those programs, Campbell said, which prompted the arrival of the Bezos Academy to Federal Way.
The Bezos Academy preschool operates independently from Federal Way Public Schools.
“We believe all children deserve the great start that an excellent preschool provides,” said Mike George, president of Bezos Academy. “We’re excited to join the community of preschools nurturing the potential in Federal Way’s children to become creative leaders, original thinkers, and lifelong learners.”
Each classroom is limited to 20 students with a ratio of one staff member per every 10 student, according to the Bezos Academy website.
To be eligible, the student’s yearly household income must be less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). This would be less than $122,720 for a family of five.
Bezos Academy also reserves half of the seats in each classroom for students whose families’ household income are below 250% of the FPL. This would be less than $76,700 for a family of five.
More details and an application to the Federal Way program will be available later this spring. For more information about the Bezos Academy, visit bezosacademy.org.