search logo

Empowering families: The ʻOhana Committee’s role in celebrating Hawaiian culture

March 25, 2024

A vibrant display of community spirit unfolded as 28 families from KS preschools, along with their keiki and kumu, participated in the Prince Kūhiō Parade in Kapolei. This event was a testament to the strength and lōkahi of the preschool ʻohana, celebrating their collective heritage and values.

The parade partipcation was the result of an initiative by Waiʻanae preschools’ nā Hope Poʻo Kumu Kaila Lui-Kwan and Jeannette Sunn called the ʻOhana Committee. This hui of families from four KS preschools along the Waiʻanae coast was established to empower parents and guardians in the educational journey of their keiki.

Poʻo Kumu Kaila Lui-Kwan expressed optimism about increasing parent and guardian involvement since the pandemic. “We are asking our ‘Ohana Committee representatives how they want to serve the community, their preschool site and preschool classroom,” she said. The families have already participated in various community activities including toy drives and organized playdates.

KS has four preschool sites in Waiʻanae with 16 classrooms serving 320 keiki and their ʻohana. The ʻOhana Committee’s mission is to provide a platform for families to voice their ideas and contribute to planning activities that enrich their children’s learning. With the support of the preschool staff, these families have taken an active role in shaping the curriculum and extracurricular activities, ensuring they resonate with the community’s values.

Parent Rachel Arasato shared her experience, “From the first hui meeting, we parents felt welcomed and at ease when expressing our thoughts and opinions. Kumu Kaila and kumu Jeanette are great at what they do and go above and beyond for the families on the Leeward coast.”

Rachel Arasato and her keiki are all smiles at the Prince Kūhiō Parade in Kapolei. The ʻOhana hui brings families together while learning and having fun.

The decision to participate in the Kūhiō Day Parade stemmed from the hui’s desire to engage in a celebration of Hawaiian heritage. The Waiʻanae preschools’ staff worked with the committee to coordinate the event, making it a memorable experience for all involved.

Malia Augustin recounted how the ʻohana activities have positively impacted her daughter Liliana. “Our ʻohana activities have encouraged my daughter to donate toys during Christmas, learn to grow fruits from seeds, kickstart her school breaks by playing with new friends, and most of all, celebrate her Aliʻi by marching in the Prince Jonah Kūhiō Day Parade,” she said.

The parade served as an extension of the classroom, where the keiki could experience firsthand lessons about Hawaiian leaders and the rich history of their ʻāina. It was an opportunity for the children to connect with their culture, reinforcing the teachings about respect, leadership and community integral to their education.

Malia Augustin and her ʻohana enjoying the Prince Kūhiō Parade while learning about their Hawaiian heritage.

The success of the ʻOhana Committee is a shining example of what can be achieved when families are given the opportunity to lead and collaborate. It highlights the importance of parental involvement in education and the positive impact it has on children’s development.

The Kūhiō Day Parade was not just a march through the streets of Kapolei; it was a march towards a future where families are at the heart of their children’s education, empowered to pass on the legacy of their ancestors. As the keiki waved their flags and the ʻohana marched alongside, it was clear that the spirit of Prince Kūhiō was alive and well, guiding them toward a brighter future.

For more parade pics, visit our photo gallery.

ks preschools,parent engagement,waianae coast,early childhood education,native hawaiian identity,preschools,prince kūhiō

Kaipuolono Article, Regions, Wai’anae Coast, Themes, Culture, Community, KS Announcements, Newsroom, Preschools, Community Events, Preschools

Print with photos Print text only