My daughter developed a deep sense of ownership—she loved going to school and wanted to give her best. The skills were important to me, but it was this growing sense of self that I valued most, and the fact that my child was in a school where other kids and families felt the same.”
—Lower School parent
At the Lower School, we help young children make their first big transition from home into the larger world. We concentrate on intra-personal development (understanding one’s self) and interpersonal development (understanding others) within a culture of strong school values. Our expectations for both behavior and academics are high, supported by warm and caring relationships with teachers and all other adults in the community. We foster cognitive, social, and emotional growth not only through class instruction but also through assemblies, guest presentations, service, and many other offerings.
The whole Lower School gathers roughly every other week to reflect on HPA’s core values and how they are lived and expressed throughout our school ‘ohana. Through these gatherings and all our other programs, we strive to create an environment where teachers help children and children help each other to build an inclusive, equitable, caring, and respectful community.
Leadership and Service
Our sense of service begins here on campus, where students participate in the maintenance of classrooms, shared facilities, and the campus as a whole. We give back to our local community and the wider world through service events throughout the year, such as food drives or fundraisers. We mālama kaiāulu (care for our community of spirit, land, and people) through campus recycling, beach clean-ups, and many other extracurricular activities, as well as academics. The Lower School student council, which turns over every trimester, gives many students the chance to try on leadership roles and learn what it means to represent their grade and their school.
Fourth- and fifth-graders have the option of joining the Peacemakers program. With parental permission, peacemakers learn peer mediation skills and help resolve conflicts on the playground during recess (a teacher remains on duty). Peacemakers work in pairs and rotate their duties monthly. They do not counsel, judge or problem-solve but rather guide the discussion and assist the parties in dialogue to reach their own agreement.
There are four formal opportunities for families to receive information and partner with the school on their child’s learning throughout the year. In August, intake conferences allows parents and teachers to share information and goals for the year. In October, a parent-teacher conference is held and then in December written progress reports are sent home. In March, student-led conferences are held, allowing students to showcase their learning. In May, a final academic report provides a culminating overview of each student’s growth, along with recommendations for summer learning from their teacher.
Counseling and Peer Mediation
Our K-8 Village Campus counselor works independently and within our classrooms to provide an integrated approach to counseling, health, and wellness. She visits each classroom every other week. We want students to know from an early age that skills such as mindfulness, conflict resolution, and emotional management are a natural part of sustaining physical and mental health. The counselor is assisted by Sunny, HPA’s therapy dog, who participates in classroom activities, counseling sessions, and who provides a fun and calming presence on any given school day.
Our Lower School teachers work carefully to support each studentʻs learning. Recognizing that this is a complex subject area, we also have a full-time, K-8 learning specialist on staff to assist teachers, students, and families in understanding and implementing strategies that can help all students achieve success.
We offer a licensed after-school program at the Village Campus for families who would like to extend child care until 5 p.m. The program coordinator escorts children to the facility and handles check-in. Activities vary throughout the year. Enrichment activities include study time, music, arts and crafts, games, and movement. In addition, we regularly offer special hour-long classes (for an additional fee) in subjects such as robotics, foreign language, hula, astronomy, dance, woodworking lead by skilled members of the community. Students sign up for these each semester.
Students can also enroll in the after-school horse program and tennis program, based at the Upper School.