Thinking to learn, learning to think - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Thinking to learn, learning to think

Posted on March 6, 2008

by Dr. Edna Hussey on March 6, 2008

We are honored to have Dr. George Forman — well-known author and specialist on Jean Piaget’s theories of early childhood education, former research psychologist at Project Zero at Harvard University, and consultant to Reggio Emilia (the model of learning that has inspired our MPI preschool)  — working with our preschool team this week Thursday and Friday. He will be observing the work of the preschool team with the children and discussing how children learn and think as they work with many different materials. Today he met with the K-5 faculty, and together they discussed the inquiry-based approaches in the elementary school. Dr. Forman is impressed with the faculty’s efforts in using constructivist approaches of instruction.  “Constructivism,” a view of learning based on the theories of Piaget, means that learners construct understanding through an active, mental process that allows them to wonder, ask questions, hypothesize, predict, investigate, imagine, and invent. Constructivist approaches foster critical thinking and creates active, motivated learners.   Dr. Forman will be the featured presenter at a special session with educators, parents, and advocates of quality early childhood education on Saturday, March 8, 8:30-11:30am, in the dining room.  The session is already at full capacity!  Check out, a website that offers workshops for parents and teachers. You can also look into, which offers professional development services to early childhood educators.  Dr. Forman has authored several books and articles, among them The Child’s Construction of Knowledge, Constructive Play, and Action and Thought.  

Ho`olaule`a Updates:  This annual event — a celebration of our MPI community — is next Friday, March 14, 11:30am – 7:00pm, by Bakken Auditorium and the middle school.  You should have received the order forms for scrip (each scrip is 50 cents) and the special Ho`olaule`a t-shirt.  We have been receiving order forms and checks in our office. The entire preschool and K-5 classes will be going to the Ho`olaule`a at 11:30am, accompanied by their teachers and parent volunteers.  Food items include pizza, burgers, bentos, shaved ice, Jamba Juice, baked goods, malasadas, and lots more.  There will be many age-appropriate games and activities, such as an inflatable obstacle course, giant slide, dunking booth, and face painting.  The gym will house the games and activities appropriate for preschool through second grade.  

The children are excited! What a great way to begin Spring Break!

Please review the wish list. We still need many items.  We are also looking for volunteers to work any of these shifts: (1) 11:20am-2:00pm, (2) 2:00-4:00pm, and (3) 4:30-7:00pm.  We could also use donations of baked goods, small prizes (the type a child could win at a carnival game), or door prizes for students (e.g., Jamba Juice cards, movie tickets, etc.) If you can donate items and/or volunteer for a work shift, please contact Bill Wheeler, student activities coordinator, at, or call him at 973-5083.

Each teacher will be providing information about how he/she will be handling supervision and any early dismissal on March 14.  You may attend the Ho`olaule`a with your child, if you wish.  If you plan to take your child home earlier on March 14, you must contact your child’s teacher and provide specific information.  The teacher will only release your child to a person you have authorized, either on the authorization form you signed at the beginning of the year, or via a handwritten note or phone call to our office. In other words, please do not make arrangements with another parent and then expect your child to convey a message about his/her pickup without directly informing the teacher or school office.

There will be limited parking on campus, so you may need to park off campus.  

A reminder about t-shirts:  After Spring Break, students will be allowed to wear the specialty MPI-related t-shirts (e.g., Ho`olaule`a shirt, 1908 commemorative shirt, Big Island class shirt, etc.) only on Fridays.

Opera production committees are underway. We will be using some of our assembly time on March 13 for classes to share what they have been doing to date. I can hear the students practicing their parts in the music room!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey