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Trust for Learning

$15 million

Trust for Learning commits $15 million to increase access to high-quality, developmentally-appropriate early childhood education models for low-income and at-risk populations in the United States. In a collaborative strategy, Trust partners including the Harold Simmons Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the McCall Kulak Family Foundation and the McTeague Catalyst Fund will use this investment to dramatically increase the number of public early childhood programs using the evidence-based, time-tested Montessori approach to transform classrooms and support families in underserved communities. Montessori is overwhelmingly chosen as a model of private education by parents seeking the best early learning environments for their children, but of the approximately 5,000 existing schools in the U.S., only 500 are public. Within this number, several exemplary public programs use Montessori to provide deep, student-centered early learning, as well as wrap-around services such as parent support, home visits, special needs and learning differences support, with outstanding results for children and families involved.

The Trust’s multi-pronged effort will increase access to this type of program by expanding and replicating successful, multi-generational community demonstration projects; leveraging an existing network of high-quality teacher training centers to prepare significantly more early childhood teachers, and trainers of teachers, who are uniquely prepared to observe, understand and cultivate children’s development; creating a new teacher recruitment pipeline ( to develop a network of top-quality young teachers; and building awareness of the potential of these programs through targeted communication and outreach.

Commitment progress

Trust for Learning has made a grant to support the first Montessori Public Policy Initiative Convening, where representatives from over 20 state Montessori associations will gather to share and plan for policy action to expand access to more public Montessori schools. The James Walton Foundation, a Trust for Learning partner, has also recently invested in the National Centre for Montessori in the public sector.