HANALEI — After-school clubs aren’t just for fun.
Hanalei School is allowing first through sixth graders to join the clubs on its campus to promote learning outside of the classroom.
“I think (clubs) are super important,” said Principal Taharaa Stein. “They do a couple of things: It keeps the kids connected to campus, just in the habit of being here at school; and then it’s something that personally enriches them. They come to school, they love socializing with their friends and they build good relationships with their teachers.”
From ukulele, sewing, science, drama, 3-D printing, yoga, dance, skateboarding, book club and art, there is no shortage of options for students. Club sign-up forms were due Monday.
“There’s a ton of clubs and that’s our goal, to appeal to every type of student that we have on this campus,” Stein said.
Kawehi Alapai, a fifth-grader at Hanalei School, has been wanting to join the Drama Club since she was in second grade. Now that she can sign up for after-school clubs, Alapai can’t wait to find out if she got in or not.
“I’ve been through a lot of drama with my family and friends so I think this would be a really good opportunity for me,” she said. “It’s going to be really fun and I’m going to look forward to it all day on the days that the club is.”
Her younger brother, Ikaika, is in third grade and decided to join the sports club even though he doesn’t play sports at recess or outside of school. It’s an opportunity for him to get out of his comfort zone.
“I think this will be a good club to do because I watch sports and think they’re fun and think they’re (a good way to) get exercise,” he said.
The after-school clubs at Hanalei are made possible by support from Aloha Angels, who want students from a young age to expand their learning experiences.
After-school clubs are vitally important, said Ric Cox, president of Aloha Angels.
“Research shows that having a relationship with a caring adult is one of the most important factors in predicting a child’s success in life,” he said
“I love that Aloha Angels is helping us out and supporting us,” Stein said.
The teachers are a big part of this effort to get as many kids as possible involved in after-school activities and Stein is grateful for the help and enthusiasm she is receiving from her staff to be part of a child’s development.
“We ask our teachers — they’re called ‘club mentors’ — to use an academic vocabulary so that the clubs truly are an extension of learning,” Stein said. “And the kids are so excited. There’s a lot of energy from them when they hear on the announcements that the forms are coming out and you hear the kids talking about it on campus, asking each other what club their friends signed up for.”