Celebrating the GRAND in Grandparents! - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Celebrating the GRAND in Grandparents!

Posted on February 27, 2016

by Dr. Edna Hussey on February 27, 2016

We celebrated another spectacular Grandparents' Day -- 12 annual events over the years, not counting about six more in our pre-Mid-Pacific days. Over 500 grandparents, great-grandparents, parents, and family members enjoyed a morning in the classroom followed by a program featuring the students' developmental learning in specialist classes -- art , music, physical education, and character education. It was quite impressive to see how skillful the students become as they grow along the span of eight years from preschool and kindergarten through fifth grade.

Please click here to view a photo gallery.

For example, the kindergartners showed us how they learn the concept of rhythm by stepping to beats played on an instrument. First and second graders could step to the beat while clapping the same rhythm with their hands. Third and fourth graders could step to a beat while singing a song and clapping their hands cued by certain repeated words in two songs. The layering of skills and increasing complexity along a continuum of learning was easily made visible! The same effect was evident in physical education where kindergartners through fifth graders demonstrated rope jumping skills (in preparation for next weekʻs Jump Rope for Heart event) from regular rope jumping to increasing agility and speed mixed with tricks such as jumping jacks, skipping on one foot, and skipping backwards. They made it look all too easy!

In art education, we learned how art and astronomy have been integrated so that art becomes the language for expressing studentsʻ understanding about the planets. Students made sense of the network of stars by imagining the outline of an animal or object, much like the mythology the ancient Greeks created to make sense of the wonders of the universe, then wrote their own myths and tales. Students in character education read their reflections on experiences in service learning at the elementary and beyond our campus in a neighboring preschool and senior care home. Again, the increasing depth of their insights from kindergarten to fifth grade was readily apparent.

We learned about the preschoolersʻ current inquiry project on ideas -- the origin of ideas, what happens to ideas, and where ideas come alive in the metaphor of a space and place. The voices of our early learners resonated in a slideshow that astounded the audience. The children's insights expressed as quotes juxtaposed to images of the children in a particular context conveyed their brilliance and depth of thinking.

As part of our celebration, we acknowledge the oldest grand (great-grand) father and grand (great-grand) mother, those traveling the farthest east and west, and having the most grandchildren. Their photos are in the slideshow accompanying this blog. So the oldest: 97! Another traveled from Japan and another from Boston. And the most grandchildren: 21!

I understand why our kupuna attend this event and return every year for more. Itʻs pure joy to see your moʻopuna in their ʻnatural habitatʻ (the classroom) and be able to connect the names to faces of the friends and teachers the grandchildren talk about. Itʻs re-living the excitement we experienced as former young, energetic parents noting the milestones of our children's development. Grandparents, you deserve this day. How fortunate I am to be in the honored ranks of Grand Parents, with emphasis on "grand"!

My deep appreciation to Violet Kim who chaired the event, assisted by Student Activities Coordinator Ann Kondo, 'Ohana President Eric Koike, and the legion of parent volunteers who supported all efforts -- making the memento photo leis, setting up the refreshments, welcoming guests, and the cleanup. Kudos to our teaching specialists Jill Johnson (art), Lori Abe and Shirley Rivera (character education), Sarahlea Kekuna (music), Bruce Black (physical education), and the preschool leadership -- Leslie Gleim, Robynne Migita, and Jordan Guillory. High fives to our 274 children for a memorable program.

E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.