Posted on February 26, 2011
Grandparents, great-grandparents, and family members converged on campus this past Friday morning to visit their mo`opuna (grandchildren) in the classroom where they were treated to a wide range of learning events. If you read any of the teachers' blogs this week, most reflected on the significance of this annual celebration and described "the happening" in their respective classrooms. The fifth graders, having just returned from a field trip to the US Immigration Center, quizzed their grandparents on some of the 100 questions that are asked when someone becomes a naturalized US citizen. In another class, children shared their stories about what the world would be like in a hundred years. A group of first and second graders informed grandparents about what they had learned about some of their favorite prehistoric animals. Grandparents of some third and fourth graders learned how to make an ipu. Preschoolers assumed roles as teachers and taught their grandparents how to make "swirly" patterns with tile pieces, beads, and rocks. Grandparents marveled at the "new" learning and the complex units of study they were surprised our preschoolers and elementary students were learning. But that's not all!
Everyone made their way to Bakken auditorium for a sampling of student talent. The program opened with the entire school singing Arirang, which the students performed for the Korean teacher-cohort two weeks ago. Kindergartner Emma F. and fifth graders Remi G., Gillian S., and Madison E. impressed us with their solo piano performances. The afterschool hula halau under the direction of Malia Helela danced three numbers quite well without their kumu standing in front of them (quite amazing show of confidence considering they've only had six lessons). Music director Diane Koshi directed the Beginning and Elementary Choirs. From MPI's Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool, teachers Leslie Gleim and Kimberly Collins-Siegfried explained their students' current inquiry projects. One classroom of children is learning in an outdoor atelier or workshop -- the beach! -- and Leslie explained briefly the discoveries the children are making about water tosses that inspire artistic creations, the art of making sand balls, and building fully functioning aqueducts in the sand. The children in the other classroom created magical gardens -- a Mermaid Garden, a Super Heroes Garden, a Haunted Garden, and a Princess Garden -- after extensive research at Foster Botanical Garden and reading a number of books about plants. We brought the program to a close by singing our favorite Simple Gifts.
One of the pre-performance announcements, a tradition we began in year 2000, is acknowledging the oldest grandparents attending the Grandparents' Day celebration. The well-deserved honor goes to Mrs. Esther Sato, Dakota B.'s great grandmother, who is a spry 95 years! And the oldest grandfather who attended the event was Mr. Hitoo Washio, a very young 88 years. He is Kayla W.'s proud grandfather. We also recognized grandparents who traveled long distances to get to MPI for Grandparents' Day. Lei of aloha to Max T.'s grandmother, Mrs. Yang Shu Hua, who traveled 5,045 miles from Tianjin, China! Other grandparents traveled from as far as Connecticut, Nebraska, Colorado, California and the Big Island of Hawaii. Now here are grandparents who traveled great lengths just to be with their grandchildren on Grandparents' Day.
Kudos to Linda Hasegawa who coordinated the event, She was assisted by more than a dozen fifth grade parents and others from various grade levels. They created the photo ID tags as mementos, greeted guests, and served refreshments throughout the morning. We are very grateful to Lou Kawamura of Flowers by Jr. Lou & T (grandmother of Tanner) for the gorgeous floral baskets. Thanks also to faculty members Diane Koshi who put the Bakken program together and Pam Jenkins who created the slideshow and took care of technical needs. Finally, mahalo to our own staff -- Ms. Amanda, Mr. Louie, Mr. Sky, Vance Ishibashi, and Ms. Kelli -- for handling all the logistics.
It was also my first official Grandparents' Day -- my grandson is a student in the preschool. Yes, 'twas a fine day to be a grandparent.
For our children and grandchildren,
Edna L. Hussey