Posted on March 8, 2015
Since Mid-Pacific was recognized by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation in 2009 as a "school of the future" (one of 18 schools joining the ranks), we have had a steady stream of educators visiting our classrooms across the campus. Hosting the Wonder of Learning exhibit and opening our preschool doors to participants in the National Association of Reggio Emilia Alliance annual summer international conference in 2013 also contributed to state, national, and international recognition of Mid-Pacificʻs Reggio-inspired preschool. What brings our colleagues from near and far to Mid-Pacific?
At the preschool, educators come to learn about project work, documentation, the concept of the "hundred languages," creating a child-centered environment, the assessment of young learners, and many other Reggio Emilia principles. At the elementary, educators are interested in the development of our inquiry-based approaches to instruction and curriculum. Of particular interest is how Reggio principles continue through elementary grades and into middle school and high school. Our digital portfolios in preschool and elementary and performance continua are other interests. Visitors to the middle and high school are often interested in our project-based classes and the integration of technology to support teaching and learning.
Early education educators have visited from Japan, Canada, South Africa, and across the U.S. to take note of our Reggio-inspired preschool. In Hawaiʻi, colleagues at the elementary levels have come from, to name a few --
For many years, our faculty has served and continue to serve as mentors to aspiring young teachers through the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and West Oʻahu campuses and Chaminade University. (We currently have three elementary student teachers and five early learning student teachers on campus).
Why the continued interest? I think because what is unique to Mid-Pacific is its system-wide approach. At the preschool and elementary, two essential beliefs form the critical framework: a strong image of the child and an inquiry mindset. These two beliefs inform our pedagogy -- practice, curriculum, and assessment. The cohesiveness in these areas contribute to the unique culture of the school. The upcoming Innovative Learning Center in the middle school, project-based learning offered to freshmen and sophomores, the International Baccalaureate, the School of the Arts, and the amazing innovations in educational technology continue to provide the rich and deep learning experiences our children experience at the preschool and elementary. Again, at the core --a strong image of the child and an inquiry mindset. Mid-Pacific views each student as progressing along a continuum of learning with transition experiences consistent with social, emotional, and cognitive growth.
One of Mid-Pacific's aspirational "pillars" is to become a center of teaching and learning. As I see it, we have been evolving into this center of PS-12 learning in Hawaiʻi for many years. We will continue to evolve and change, inspired by our very own students.
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.