Outdoor Environments

Punahou’s lush Mānoa Valley campus, housed on land gifted to its founders, roots students in a place-based mindset, the powerful teachings of our earth, and responsibility to preserve and protect the land that sustains us. The campus is rich with outdoor features that are themselves learning environments. 

Young students trace the movement of water in the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood and Sidney and Minnie Kosasa Community ‘auwai, the natural bioswales that channel rainwater. From catching tadpoles and fish to leaping between the rocks and islands in the water, students relish the Lily Pond as an invaluable site for play and learning. Another natural feature, the Banyan Tree, with its legendary boughs, will continue to delight generations of students once construction of Kosasa Community is complete.

Across campus students tend to gardens, an apiary, aquaponics systems, worm bins and chickens, managing produce from seed to harvest, exploring the sustainable economics of locally-grown food and preparing cooked dishes, in a variety of classroom and mixed-grade activities. Students, faculty and alumni also clear invasive species and cultivate native plants on Rocky Hill. 

Outdoor educational experiences like these aim to build a deep connection to the natural world as a key step in developing students who care about the earth, are effective stewards of our natural resources, and are equipped to take action towards global sustainability.

Playgrounds and play structures, like the one found fronting Bishop Hall and those in the Kosasa Community, with their physical- and social-skillbuilding opportunities, are microcosms of the real world where students experience the freedom of making connections and also learn the boundaries that come with respecting others.