ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi.* #203
All knowledge is not learned in one school.
[One can learn from many sources.]
Welina me ke aloha kākou. In this makahiki season, it is only fitting that we take time to look back and reflect on where we have been over this past year. It’s hard to believe that we are rounding out our second full calendar year as an education program, and in many ways, we are only beginning to scratch the surface.
Our education program was birthed out of a desire to be a resource to educators and students who value ʻāina and Hawaiian culture-based education and are interested in bringing their learning outside of the classroom. When students, teachers, and families arrive, they can expect to hear a bit about Kapalai and Kailua as well as the moʻolelo and ʻōlelo noʻeau that ground us culturally as an organization. Groups also participate in protocol where we spend time centering ourselves spiritually and introducing ourselves to the ʻāina and one another before jumping into the hana for the day, which will vary from weeding to fertilizing to pulling and cleaning kalo, depending on what is needed. Everything we do with our students goes to maintaining the lo‘i. As Uncle Dean often says, “we don’t give busy work.”
As former DOE teachers, Dean and I both know the importance of providing opportunities for our students to cultivate healthy relationships with one another, with ʻāina, with culture and even with themselves. In a world of standards, testing, and scripted curricula, our hope has been to be a support to teachers who believe in the value of these educational experiences and see long-term community partnership as a way to provide them for their students.
At the start of 2018, we were finalizing our core lessons and resources, while also supporting teachers and students coming to Kapalai for site visits. Hoʻokuaʻāina was also a site for the 2018 Nā Hopena Aʻo (HĀ) Summit in March, where students and educators from a number of schools and organizations in the Windward District and across the pae ʻāina came to experience what we do at Kapalai. All in all, we had terrific year hosting 45 school visits with students from kindergarten through 12th grade and up into college level.
Kupuohi (Multi-Visit Education Program)
Kupuohi, our multi-visit education program, has continued in full force in the 2018-2019 school year with Blanche Pope Elementary School and Mālama Honua Public Charter School continuing to come several times throughout the school year. We are also excited to welcome the kula haʻahaʻa (4th, 5th and 6th graders) from Hālau Kū Māna as well as Keolu Elementary School’s student council, both of whom will be visiting multiple times this school year.
In addition, both our Blanche Pope and Mālama Honua ʻohana have begun hosting ʻohana work days on select weekends throughout the year. While this is a new development, it has been amazing to see students and their families laughing and working together. For us, this is what it’s all about and we’re grateful to be a part.
Blanche Pope Elementary (spotlight)
During the 2017-2018 school year, Kumu Lily Utaʻi from Blanche Pope Elementary School brought her 4th-grade class to Kapalai once during each of the first three quarters. By their last visit, they had become so maʻa that they were helping the staff to clean around 900 pounds of kalo for our upcoming poi day! In May, our education team participated in their ʻāina momona day where we hosted a ku‘i station for these same 4th-grade students, allowing them to see, experience, and taste the full process of kalo cultivation and preparation. This school year, we began with a classroom visit just before Kumu Lily’s new 6th-grade class, Nā Pōhaku, came out to Kapalai for their first visit of the year. Sharing the ‘ōlelo noʻeau, “Malia paha he iki ʻunu, paʻa ka pōhaku nui ʻaʻole e kaʻa,” “Nani ke kalo,” and “He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa,” we have been emphasizing the importance of unity, ‘ohana, and kuleana with them so far this year, and we look forward to what the spring has in store!
Looking back and looking forward
As we reflect on all that has happened in 2018, we’re incredibly grateful to the kumu, haumāna, and ʻohana who have made the choice to go against the grain and to place value on these experiences. We also need to mahalo the ʻāina, kūpuna, and ke Akua who continue to be kumu to us and without whom none of this would be possible.
As we look toward 2019, we plan to finish this school year strong, complete with visits to Kapalai, ʻohana work days, classroom visits, and school events. In addition, we’re beginning to think and plan through what it might look like to bring some of our kuaʻana (older siblings, older students) out more regularly. Stay tuned…
Mahalo for your continued support! Ke aloha nui.
If you would like to sponsor any of these schools or would like to give to our education program, please contact Michele: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about HĀ and Nā Hopena Aʻo, please visit their website.
*Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.
Written by Dani Espiritu, Education Specialist