Articles, Blog

Kawaikini: Learning from the Land

February 13, 2020

[classroom conversation] I let them touch. I let them explore. I let them learn. We’re trying to establish that. Because how can you care for a place if you’ve never been to it. How do you know what you’re protecting later on if you never went, yeah? If you’re not pili to it, yeah? We really focus on the culture Hawaiian culture a lot of that has to do with respect for people respect for land. So the very basics of Manokalanipō the island is divided into five moku so first and second grade does the moku of Puna third and fourth grade does the moku of Ko‘olau fifth and sixth grade study the moku of Halele‘a seventh, eighth grade study the moku of Kona and the high school studies Nā Pali. And so as we gradually grow the students in every moku, help the identify the ahupua‘a, the stream names, the wind names, the mountain names, stories and legends, songs and mele of that place. [children singing] When our community enrolls their students here at Kawaikini they become part of our ‘ohana which means they also take on the kuleana and also the pride of the accomplishments that we have. A lot of our funding as a charter school is spent on things like transportation and giving our keiki good food but we also have to sustain those things so we need resources constantly to make sure that what we’re providing is something sustainable. I remember the first year we taught and we were in a tent and there were three grade levels. It was really difficult at times to just make sure that we were providing adequate education, culturally, and academically, right? But seeing the growth in the kids and seeing the ‘ōlelo still thrive through all those adversities to me has been inspiring.

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