The Waiʻanae community holds an incredible wealth of spiritual, cultural, and intellectual capital. When students, through the guidance and support of community mentors, are connected to that wealth — including its histories, strengths, and challenges — they learn to love their place and their people. And when people love something, they are more likely to take care of it. This is the traditional Hawaiian value known as Aloha ʻĀina, meaning love for the land and its people. It is a practice that utilizes the skills and talents of the entire community, all responsibly working together in harmony, with a commitment for the present and a heart for the generations yet to come.
Funded by the United States Department of Education, Native Hawaiian Education Program. The program is administered through the Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED) at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa and is one of many programs aimed at providing important services to children and youth from Hawaii.
Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. #203 Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.
PLACES is an exciting collaborative venture among schools along the Wai'anae Coast of Oʻahu, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoaʻs Office of Student Equity, Excellence & Diversity (SEED), and our local Wai'anae community.
PLACES supports teachers and the community in the planning and implementation of Place-Based Cultural Projects (PBCP) for students in Wai'anae schools. These projects provide authentic opportunities for children to engage with the community and develop habits of social activism and environmental stewardship. PLACES leverages a wide range of community resources, including cultural, agriculture, the arts, natural resource development, and higher education.
PALS provides out-of-school learning opportunities for a predominantly Native Hawaiian population of children and youth on the Wai'anae coast of Oʻahu. The Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa administers the PALS program. PALS began in 2007 and serves over 300 students (grades K-12) annually.
Through the design and implementation of Place-Based Cultural Projects, PALS students engage with teachers and community members in projects relevant to their own lives. Many important outcomes, including nurturing children's identities as learners, community activism, and stewards of the environment, are gained through their participation.
The Place-Based Cultural Projects (PBCP) curricular framework embraces the multiple cultural locations in which children live and grow and utilizes community and place as the springboard for learning. Based on several educational research bodies, PBCPs engage real-life ways of knowing and doing and providing integrated teaching and learning opportunities.
Our journey and exploration with Place-Based Cultural Projects began in 2007, with PALS - our afterschool program - with a grant from the US ED NHEP (Native Hawaiian Education Program). Our mission was to explore strategies that students would find engaging, culturally relevant, and meaningful – during out-of-school time (OST). We wanted to explore whether engaging and culturally relevant learning opportunities afterschool can impact students’ school performance. Yes, it can impact school performance. But, we learned so much more. As we developed relationships with community organizations, it became apparent how alive students became when they were engaged with community organizations; when they learned more about their community – their place. So together we all explored and learned of the incredible depth and wealth of cultural capital, intellectual capital, and spiritual capital. The more students were able to access this capital, the more curious, engaged, and positive they grew. During the first year, we served one school and 35 students. We grew each year.
Teachers noticed the difference, too. Teachers started making comments about wanting to be able to provide these kinds of learning experiences during the regular school day. After several talk stories with the teacher, we applied for our first PLACES grant. In 2012, PLACES began. Our journey has encountered many bumps in the road, but far more joyful and heartfelt moments with students, teachers, and the community. PALS and PLACES students have engaged in and produced amazing projects – from stop motion animation plays to presenting a water resolution at the Annual Native Hawaiian Civic Club Conference. We are as committed as ever to place-based teaching and learning. It provides culturally relevant experiences for our students. It provides deeply intentional connections and real challenges and learning for both student and teacher. And, these connections with place highlight the necessary interdependence of school and community – and allows the best of each to emerge.
Our journey and exploration with Place-Based Cultural Projects began in 2007, with PALS - our afterschool program - with a grant from the US ED NHEP (Native Hawaiian Education Program). Our mission was to explore strategies that students would find engaging, culturally relevant, and meaningful – during out-of-school time (OST). We wanted to explore whether engaging and culturally relevant learning opportunities afterschool can impact students’ school performance. Yes, it can impact school performance. But, we learned so much more.
Dr. Kay Fukuda
Place-based Learning And Community Engagement in School
Place-based Afterschool Literacy Support
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Student Equity, Excellence & Diversity (SEED)
2600 Campus Rd., QLSSC 413
Honolulu, HI 96822
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