The depth of learning beyond the classroom makes HPA a truly exceptional experience and one we didn’t want our children to miss.”
—Lower School parent
Our Lower School community is alive with island adventures, art-making, fun and games, and community celebrations. Through these activities, we amplify learning even further, and we build trusting relationships with one another. During the year, our many events bring parents, teachers, students, and extended families together to feel the excitement, gratitude, and sense of service within our HPA ‘ohana.
We allow flexibility in the school schedule for out-of-the ordinary, place-based learning, as well as other off-campus excursions. In second grade, students build comfort with being away from home via a class overnight at school. Third-graders hold an overnight retreat at Waiaka house, which has featured, among other activities, a slam poetry event, to which parents are invited. As part of their year-long focus on Hawai‘i, fourth-graders stay two nights within Volcanoes National Park, exploring its cultural, geographic, and scientific significance. Fifth grade kicks off with a two-night stay at the Kohala Institute studying land use and sustainable practices, in preparation for capstone work on pollinators. Through all our experiential learning, we build our connection to the environment and communities that surround us, as well as a sense of community among classmates.
Each year, two grade levels pair up to present a musical: kindergarten/first grade; second/third grades; and fourth/fifth grades. These performances integrate themes from the classroom and are showcased in Gates Performing Arts Center on the Upper School campus. Our students’ enthusiastic efforts, with support from their music teacher, individual classroom teachers, families, and the local community, make these shows a Lower School highlight throughout the year.
This fun, voluntary event attracts many Lower School families each fall. With specialized events for young children, it is the crowning event after a six-week physical education unit about endurance events. In preparation, students take swimming lessons and learn all about running techniques and nutrition required for endurance event athletes.
Since the late 1920s, May Day, also known as Lei Day in Hawai‘i, has been a tradition in our aloha state. Honoring one of the highest art forms in Hawai‘i, the lei is a symbol of love and affection.
Each year, HPA honors the traditions of May Day through a culminating hō‘ike (showcase) focused around a theme related to the students’ Hawaiian studies. More than 120 students in grades K-5, their parents, and our extended school ‘ohana all contribute to and support this amazing showcase that includes history, language, hula, oli (chants), authentic attire, and beautiful lei in which the lei represents the students, the stories told, and their environment.
Makahiki Season and Games
During the second quarter, Hawaiian studies classes focus on the time of Makahiki and the celebrations and games associated with the season, comparing this cultural season to other ethnic celebrations. Selected students show their skills and participate in the Kā Moku o Keawe Makahiki Festival, an event with other schools in Waimea and the community. This Native Hawaiian fitness and health program brings together hundreds of children, youth, adults, and elders who will challenge one another through traditional Hawaiian games. Kā Moku o Keawe Makahiki is rooted in the values of our ancestors and is a reminder of the importance of taking time out to be thankful for our many blessings—mahalo i ka mea loa‘a.
The K-8 Art Show
This exhibit showcases and celebrates our students’ accomplishments in the visual arts. In anticipation of the show, student artwork is collected throughout the year in special art portfolios. These portfolios are available to be taken home in May. An associated highlight of the show and our art program is having Isaacs Art Center next door. The Center serves as an invaluable resource for appreciating art and understanding museum culture.
Fifth graders are traditionally invited to participate in the Middle School ‘Ukulele Festival. Now in its 27th year, this show is not to be missed and combines the talents of students from Kealakehe Intermediate School, Waikoloa and Parker Schools, and HPA.