The Punahou Journey
Junior School


Developing a love for learning – whether it be through play, personalization or exploration – along with becoming respectful, empathetic, collaborative members of a larger community, is at the heart of a place where teachers learn alongside students every day, and where love and kindness are valued.
Kindergarten and first grade in the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood is a two-year experience. Each of six kindergarten classrooms adjoins a neighboring first grade class. As kindergartners learn and grow with their two classroom teachers (primary and assistant), they become familiar with the first grade teachers and classroom next door, where they will move as a class the following year.

The curriculum across kindergarten and first grade is influenced by values of play-based experiential learning, indoor and outdoor learning, and sustainability. Students focus on literacy, numeracy and developing a sense of self. Inquiry-based learning is connected with the theme of “Our Island Home,” alternating between mauka and makai topics each year. 

Core components also include PE, outdoor education, music and art, with specialist teachers dedicated solely to the K – 1 neighborhood, as well as gardening, Mandarin language (first grade) and a once-per-cycle chapel focusing on character education. Students begin to learn the use of educational technology with one-to-one iPads that stay at school.

In December, kindergarteners spread holiday cheer by caroling across campus. In March, first graders put on their spring music program; and all students K – 1 perform mele and hula in Punahou’s schoolwide May Day celebration.