Hanahau‘oli School

A Century of Lifelong, Joyful Learning

Hanahauoli School

Photos: Hanahau‘oli School
Lia Woo
Lia Woo
Head of School

Visit Hanahau‘oli’s green and lush campus and you will hear and see laughter, busy hands, curious questions and imaginative creations from a child’s point of view. This is because the Junior Kindergarten through 6th grade school recognizes and celebrates childhood as its own distinct and important life stage by focusing on and fulfilling the early years’ full potential for every student.

“We are a learning community that knows and understands children’s core ‘work’—play—and builds on that natural way that children learn best by doing and interacting directly with their world,” says Head of School Lia Woo, herself a Hanahau‘oli graduate

Meaning “happy work” in Hawaiian, Hanahau‘oli offers families a carefully designed learning environment that prioritizes play in age appropriate, diverse forms based on time-honored research on child development. Its distinct focus creates an intimate and close community, defined by deep and caring relationships where every child is known by name and by multi-age learning groupings where students find their own levels of comfort and mastery as they develop.

“Our excellent and knowledgeable teachers, who stay current on best practices, work to provide opportunities for students to lead, follow, collaborate and express autonomy. We know from research that imaginative play helps children to build such skills as planning, negotiating, creating, and self-regulation,” says Woo.

Hanahau‘oli’s educational program includes an integrated curriculum with full-time specialist teachers in visual art, Physical World Lab (shop), music, orchestra/band, physical education, Mandarin, Hawaiian culture and library studies. Valued as an essential part of a child’s learning and growth at Hanahau‘oli, the arts off er self-expression while also nurturing in children an appreciation of the value of quality. As a progressive school, Hanahau‘oli responds to a changing world. For example, the curriculum in various classes this year integrated a study of public health in Hawai‘i, a unit on democracy to coincide with the Presidential election, and study of American Sign Language to “sing” the school song since health and safety protocols prevented singing on campus.

Setting up timely and careful health and safety protocols during the global pandemic, Hanahau‘oli provided safe in-person learning for all of its students, fi ve days a week, from mid-September 2020. In addition, the school’s Skills We Need Summer Bridge Program, aimed at supporting students and families negatively impacted by COVID-19 school closures, piloted a tuition-free virtual program in 2020 for public school elementary students.

Hanahauoli School Classroom

“We expanded the program this summer to serve 96 students, across five islands and representing 41 public schools!” says Woo. “Learning is a social endeavor, which means learning at Hanahau‘oli is collaborative.”

1922 Makiki Street, Honolulu, HI 96822  |  (808) 949-6461  |  Hanahauoli.org

Hanahauoli School