Preschools on the Leeward coast foster an ʻohana-based learning environment that really ties that comfort of the household in a classroom setting, where students, families and educators grow as a community.
“I always say: ‘whether it be money or time, your biggest investment or your best investment that you can do is to invest in your children’s education’”, says Michelle Kapule who is a parent and Substitute Teaching Assistant at the Nānākuli Preschool Site.
Yet time and money seem to be the biggest barriers that are keeping families from even thinking about preschool… especially on the West Coast, where communiting becomes a big issue.
Chareene Miyamoto, who is also a parent and Teacher’s Assistant at Kamehameha Schools’ preschool in Nānākuli says: “Some families can’t afford it! And I think that the locals out here they tend to- well, auntie’s home, or you know, someone is home so they I guess, don’t look into preschools. But there are a lot of outlets out there that will help.”
Such community outreach programs include the Kamehameha Schools’ Preschool, where resources are readily available for families interested in an early childhood education.
“For the Kamehameha Schools, it’s super easy,” says Michelle. “We have the Community Learning Center, anything you need, you just go there and they have the answers. Anything. So it’s like super easy, so there’s no reason for you not to do it.”
Preschools fosters an ʻohana-based learning environment that really ties that comfort of the household in a classroom setting, where students, families and educators grow as a community.
“We welcome everybody because we know that they play a vital role in each of their keiki’s education and they are their first teachers at home,” says Cindi Pila, who is Waiʻanae Region Assistant Education Coordinator. “So they take part in being very active, taking an active role in our community as a school by volunteering in the classrooms, by participating in child and parent activities.”
Something Michelle and her ʻohana know first hand.
“Our family loves it because not only do they educate the child, they educate our family, which is awesome. They always include our ʻohana in their curriculum.”
Kamehameha Schools also opens up their resources to the larger Nānākuli and Waiʻanae coast to introduce a variety of preschools that will best suite your ʻohana’s needs.
“For anybody who is hesitant, come down see which preschool you want to look at… visit the classrooms, talk with teachers,” says Cindi Pila. “Personally as a mom, having that fear of my child not getting that one-on-one personal relationship or that nurturing that you know you will get with Tūtū or with Papa and so forth, that was put aside by the parent orientation that I attended and also visiting the classrooms, and actually talking to the teachers who will be involved in my child’s education.”
As a teacher and a parent, Chareene shares her experience: “For my own children, their preschool experience played a big part in their education and laying that strong foundation for them to continue the love of learning.”
“It’s not only your ABCs and 123s, I think what they gain the most is their social skills. Which to me is even more important than the ABCs and 123s because if you can be a successful person in school with friends, and socially it makes you a successful adult and a successful person in life,” says Michelle.
For more information on which preschool is best for your ʻohana, visit ksbe.edu/kapua