A Century of Lifelong, Joyful Learning
Photos: Hanahau‘oli School
Head of School
Every student’s journey of learning at Hanahau‘oli School begins by being known as an individual and valued for his or her uniqueness. The 101-year-old school has proven success by honoring the natural way children learn—through play—and by focusing exclusively on their early formative years, from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6. Now more than ever, preparing children for an ever-changing world is crucial.
“At Hanahau‘oli, children experience a childhood, brimming with play, experiential learning, authentic experiences and intimate relationships, at a pace that supports growth through deep reflection and inquiry,” says Head of School Lia Woo (’88). “As a progressive school, our close-knit community encourages children as they take leadership roles in the running of the school and learn the value of interdependence and community.”
Described by one student as “a happy school” and by another as “a place I look forward to going,” Hanahau‘oli (‘happy work’) supports children as they make progress at their own rate along a development path in multi-age, small-by-design classrooms. Dedicated and attentive teachers challenge students to be curious and engaged learners through a rich child-centered, interdisciplinary and age-appropriate curriculum.
— Lia Woo, Head of School
In response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Hanahau‘oli stayed true to its mission, focusing on supporting children’s continued learning while transitioning to remote learning to ensure their safety. School-wide traditions and routines were preserved. Daily welcomes by the Head of School continued, now on video, and Friday school assemblies became shared virtual experiences. Even the school community’s annual stream cleanup gathering for Earth Day creatively turned into a plant share where families drove by and picked up more than 120 plants!
Its Professional Development Center (PDC) and the Clarence T.C. Ching Teachers Teaching Teachers program reaches out to the greater community by building on Hanahau‘oli’s outstanding national reputation in early education to help develop school communities that promote a better future for children. Providing professional development workshops for teachers, the PDC also offers public talks and learning opportunities for parents on timely and relevant educational topics and issues.
“There is so much positive energy and individual attention at Hanahau‘oli. Everyone can go at their own pace and do hands-on work, which helps me learn,” says one of its many confident graduating 6th graders, who offer the best example of the school’s impact. Says another, “I was able to find leadership, friendship and joy in all of the work that I have done. I had opportunities that led me to success and I have created an image and understanding of how these roles work in my community.”
1922 Makiki Street, Honolulu, HI 96822 | (808) 949-6461 | Hanahauoli.org