Posted on November 15, 2014
This weekʻs blog is all about the persons whose support make it possible for the faculty and staff to focus on students -- parents! They are the energy source that powers our entire community. Borrowing from the principle concepts of Reggio Emilia, parents are the primary teachers, classroom teachers and specialists the second teachers, and the environment as the third teacher. Functioning together, the three form a tripod to support the childʻs learning. Over the years, the preschool/elementary parent group (ʻOhana) have managed a school calendar full of activities and events. Pictured is the most recent family event -- a movie morning at the Hawaii Kai theater to see Big Hero 6. Eric Koike, who heads the parent group, arranged with other parents for the special screening. I was impressed by the full theater of Mid-Pacific families! So much school pride and fun!
The events that fill the school year are much-loved "traditions," some that hearken back nearly twenty years. The Welcome Barbecue is a well-attended outdoor gathering on the courtyard. Over 400 come in for barbecue fare and classic family games like musical chairs, balloon toss, and wheelbarrow relays. The recent Spooktivity actually began about twenty years ago as a fun fair of sorts with student-designed games. Weʻre really happy with the current iteration consisting of a costume parade through the high school campus, Hokey Pokey, and Monster Mash in the gym with the middle schoolers. Weʻre looking forward to the annual holiday parade with other Mānoa community groups in December. Preschoolers and kindergartners ride tinsel-laden trikes and scooters and parents with other family members walk beside their children.
In February, parents help us with the annual Jump Rope for Heart in the gym. Imagine a gymnasium with 250 children, kindergarten through fifth grade, jumping rope to fast-paced music. The high energy is contagious! Iʻve seen parents joining in on the fun with jump rope in hand. Grandparentsʻ Day is another well-attended tradition. We honor our kupuna -- grandparents -- in a special way by inviting them to the campus to spend some time in their grandchildrenʻs classrooms, followed by a program that highlights our studentsʻ learning in preschool, music, art, physical education, and character education. Other family members are welcome to attend, but the day is really centered on celebrating grandparents. In many cultures, and especially in Hawaiʻi, grandparents have a special place of honor. We want our students to appreciate and respect the gift of their grandparents. The ʻOhana prepares the mementos, welcome guests, and serve refreshments. Probably the most time-intensive tradition is the annual May Day. Parents have sewn costumes, painted sets, and decorated the gym with beautiful floral arrangements. The results are always stunning and much appreciated by an enthusiastic audience, typically well over 600!
Parent volunteers abound in the classroom. Kindergarten parents often assist in the classroom library or prep materials. Preschool parents come in on Fridays to help with nap supervision so the entire preschool team can meet each week. We have a number of faithful lunch supervisors in the dining room. Homeroom parents arrange holiday class celebrations. ʻOhana representatives communicate directly with parents via email to keep everyone up-to-date on events and activities.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in two weeks, I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation, on behalf of the faculty and staff, for the countless hours and good will of the ʻOhana - our parents -- for their unwavering support of Mid-Pacific. In my 18 years as an administrator, I have come to know too well that quality parent engagement in the life of the school and in the lives of their children contribute significantly to the success of the school and the success of their children.
For you, Parents, we give abundant thanks!
E Kūlia Kākou! Together we strive and aspire.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey