A New Preschool in Lāhainā
Sep 5, 2023
At Bezos Academy, we believe that all children deserve the great start that an excellent preschool provides. As we work to open and operate tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschools across the country, we focus on communities that are historically under-resourced – areas where there are far more preschool-age children than seats available, particularly for families who can’t afford the price of private preschool.
Over the past year, we’ve been working closely with community leaders, elected officials, and organizations on Maui to find a site for a Bezos Academy preschool. Early on, we were lucky to be introduced to Ikaika Ohana, a non-profit affordable housing developer focused on providing low-income families in Hawaii with affordable and safe living opportunities. We quickly came to appreciate Ikaika Ohana’s deep commitment to their community, and the essential services they provide.
When tragedy struck in Lāhainā last month, Ikaika Ohana was in the process of building a new affordable housing development in the community, with space for a Bezos Academy preschool. Despite fire-related impacts to their planned development, Ikaika Ohana is more committed than ever to providing services to their community – and so are we. They informed us a few weeks ago that they intend to continue with their work to build affordable housing for the people of Lāhainā, including constructing a preschool facility.
Today we’re happy to share that we’ve signed a lease with Ikaika Ohana for a tuition-free, Montessori-inspired Bezos Academy preschool in Lāhainā. It will offer full-day programming, year-round, and have two classrooms, with room for 40 children between the ages of 3-5. Our partner is providing the space for our use rent-free, and we’ll cover all the costs of operating the school and make a contribution toward construction costs.
There are many unknowns about construction timelines for Lāhainā right now. Please keep an eye on our school webpage, where we’ll share more information about the status of our school and details on applications.
Our hearts go out to the people of Maui during this sad and challenging time. Thank you to our partner, Ikaika Ohana led by Douglas Bigley, Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen, The County of Maui Department of Human Concerns, and the Maui County Council, for their enthusiastic support of our efforts to bring Bezos Academy preschool to Lāhainā.
President, Bezos Academy