Alani Children’s Center at Kapi‘olani Community College respectfully requests funds to support student engagement, learning, and achievement particularly during this time of COVID-19 through the promotion of their garden and outdoor curriculum for their two to five-year-old students. Outdoor activities have become critical for teaching as the ‘āina becomes a living laboratory for these children who also experience the physical and psychological benefits of working and playing outdoors. This garden will also help to promote best practices in early childhood education and curriculum goals articulated in the Department of Education’s Nā Hopena Aʻo of a 1.) Strengthened Sense of Belonging; 2.) Strengthened Sense of Total Well-being; and 3.) Strengthened Sense of Hawai‘i.
Place-based or ‘āina-based learning enhances instruction, improves student engagement, and teaches students to learn about and be a part of their community by encouraging students “to take care of the world by understanding where they live and taking action in their own backyards and communities” (Center for Place-Based Learning). ‘Āina-based learning connects students to their local culture or landscape and asks students to not be passive members of the community, but agents of change. By teaching our youngest students to appreciate and care for the ‘āina, future generations become responsible stewards of the land. Additionally, working outside is not only safer for the students and teachers, but encourages children’s emotional and physical development during a time when indoor activities are restricted. Alani has been open even during shutdowns and has been a critical resource for the parents who are students, faculty, the staff of the University of Hawai‘i, and the general public.
Funded by Oahu, HI (January 2021)