LIHUE — From the stirring rendition of the national anthem by Karen Dickinson to the rendering of “Hawaii Pono‘i” by students of the Kawaikini Public Charter School, a part of the Hawaii Department of Education strategic plan was demonstrated Saturday.
“Na Hopena A‘o covers education integrated with our unique Hawaiian culture,” Bill Arakaki, the Kauai Complex Area superintendent, said during the Parent and Child Resource Fair hosted by the Sequenced Transition to Education into the Public Schools team at Kukui Grove Center. “We’re the only island that hosts this type of event in the state. Jeanie Odo and her team has been doing this for the past 15 years.”
The STEPS team is a national outreach program designed to help public school educators assist students and their families who face various academic challenges entering the public school system.
STEPS partners with state agencies and the community to develop a transition system that enables children, especially those with special needs, from 5 years old and younger, to become ready to learn as they enter the public school system.
The resulting parent and child fair coincides with the Hawaii DOE in observing April as “Month of the Young Child,” to raise awareness of the needs of young children and their families, and the importance of quality early childhood education programs.
More than 30 vendors, the largest to date, took over the Kukui Grove food court area with a variety of hands-on activities, information and screenings about community programs for young children. The popular Keiki ID returned, manned by volunteers from the Kauai DOE office.
The event was held in partnership with the Kukui Grove Center and help from the Grove Farm Company.