Kumu from preschools across East Hawai‘i pose with kites they created in a professional development workshop entitled, Ka Lupe Nui, a professional development workshop using kites as a tool to teach keiki an understanding of the natural environment.
Longtime early learning educator Marie Roberts pulls up photos of her classroom at St. Joseph Preschool in Hilo.
“It’s decorated and set up like an ahupua‘a,” said Roberts, the preschool’s director and head teacher, as she sat in a workshop that introduced more than a dozen early learning kumu to Ka Nohona Ahupua‘a, an interactive online curriculum based on the ahupua‘a that was originally developed for kumu at Nā Kula Kamali‘i ‘o Kamehameha.
Roberts said she is grateful that Kamehameha Schools is now sharing this curriculum with kumu outside of KS and that she’s also able to now align the new ahupua‘a curriculum with what’s already going on in her classroom.
“When an opportunity of ongoing education comes up, it’s wonderful to take advantage of it,” Roberts said. “It’s a blessing when someone offers it.”
Roberts was among 60 early learning educators from preschools across East Hawai‘i who attended a day of professional development workshops on the KS Hawai‘i campus as part of the East Hawai‘i Early Learning Consortium’s Second Conference – I Ola No Ke Kino, which translates to “nourishing the mind and soul with knowledge.”
Members of the consortium include Hawai‘i Community College, INPEACE, Joyland Preschool, Kamehameha Schools, PATCH and Partners In Development Foundation’s Tūtū and Me and Ka Pa‘alana programs.
KS East Hawai‘i Regional Director Kilohana Hirano said the conference came about as a way to offer accessible and affordable quality professional development to early learning teachers.
“There are limited opportunities for professional development in East Hawai‘i for early learning educators,” Hirano said. “As part of the consortium, we are working with the early education community to find ways to open up more opportunities for kumu to broaden their teaching horizons as well as respond to requests for more culturally-based curriculum. All this can only help to better prepare preschoolers for kindergarten.”
Some of the innovative workshops presented included:
Instructors with The Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture (INPEACE) show East Hawai ‘i preschool teachers on how to incorporate natural and free resources – like pōhaku – into lesson plans. Here, kumu prepare ‘uala to ku‘i or pound as part of the process to make sweet potato pudding or kō‘elepālau.
Ka Nohona Ahupua‘a, an interactive online curriculum based on the ahupua‘a that was originally developed for kumu at Nā Kula Kamali‘i ‘o Kamehameha, was shared with preschool kumu from across East Hawai‘i at a conference organized by the East Hawai‘i Early Learning Consortium. KS is a member of the consortium.