Developing Lifelong Learners

The curriculum at Hanahau‘oli School is developmentally appropriate and emphasizes concepts that spiral or progress throughout the curriculum, increasing in complexity from JK to 6th Grade.  Science/Social Studies thematic units form the basis of study and help children to address three questions that motivate learning: Who am I? How does the world work? Where and how do I fit in that world? While factual information is valued as a foundation for concept development, it is not the focus for assessing learning. The more traditional academic skills are taught in an integrated fashion when appropriate to lend meaning and relevance and discreetly when needed for mastery.  National curriculum standards from each discipline help to define the essential concepts, processes and skills infused throughout the curriculum.

Beliefs about Learning and Teaching

  • Inquiry and problem-solving form the basis of learning activities

  • Learning is an active and social endeavor

  • Children influence learning through prior experiences, interests and questions

  • Children construct meaning as they interact with their world and the community

  • Individual learners are responsible for learning and must be taught how to set goals, define evidence of goal achievement and reflect about progress

  • Continued learning results when children feel competent and a sense of mastery

  • Appropriate challenge is geared slightly above a child’s current level of development

  • Appropriate skill development is determined by progress over time based upon developmental benchmarks

  • Literacy is broadly defined to include language, math, technology and the arts


Concept-Based Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

Hanahau‘oli’s curriculum is based upon concepts and understandings about how the world works that build upon each other throughout a child’s eight years. These concepts and understandings give meaning to the information and topics studied and purpose for the skills learned. Children are encouraged to identify patterns, make connections and form generalizations about their world which will help them to organize new information as they encounter it. Teachers design units based upon what children already know and what questions they might have, thus teaching children that they can direct their own learning. Instruction focuses on active and engaged learning while assessment is differentiated allowing children many ways to demonstrate what has been learned. Why this emphasis?

  • Supports the natural way children learn

  • Presents learning as a part of life

  • Addresses the growing information explosion

  • Facilitates developing and organizing a world view

  • Applies skills to real-world situations

  • Supports developing “21st Century” skills and understandings

  • Engages both children and teachers in decision-making