At midday it was a pleasure to be taken to a school that felt like home! We were welcomed with food, with conversation, with singing and got to spend time in the classrooms. This is a school where the community has to work hard to accelerate learning outcomes as the learners have challenging life circumstances and varied entry points into schooling.
As we arrived during lunchtime we were taken into a workroom and school parents brought us each a plate of home-made food, some of it straight out of an umu. While we ate together we talked about the journey the school and principal Lisa Ann Higa were on. I took photos of the vision planning and PLD that was on the walls and shared them in the embedded slide show at the foot of this post.
Nānākuli Elementary School services the Hawaiian Homesteads of Nānākuli Valley and Princess Kahanu Estates. In addition to instruction in English, a Hawaiian Language Immersion strand provides instruction in the Hawaiian language. We visited the immersion unit and were greeted beautifully.
The teacher, Kai Mana, loves his kids and they love him (and said so).
There was some excitement here because these kids had been involved in the Google Hang-Outs around the Mālama Honua Landing at Pt England beach. They were using their MacBook Airs to create logos for the school values in Google Draw and the children were keen to show us and to talk about their learning with us - in English!
With the adults the conversation inevitably turned to their language and the pride the school and learners feel in being able to contribute to the strengthening of their native language which had been in danger of being lost. I was reminded of the song we sing about this, Tāku Reo Rangatira.
Before we left we had a time together under the trees (no aircon blasting out in this school!) where we sang to each other.