The Hawaiian Cultural Education Program Content
Students experience the warm sun of Hawai’i and its rich and beautiful culture as it has been passed down from ancient to modern times through their "talk story" and Hula. Hula is an ancient form of storytelling, unique to the Hawaiian Islands, that is all about community and caring for each other. It is the living history of the Hawaiian people, telling their myths and legends, stories and values through songs, chants and music accompanied by movement. It is called the "Language of the Heart" and the "Heartbeat of the Hawaiian people".
Topics covered in both classes and residential programs can include:
- An understanding of the Hawaiian Islands, both geographically and historically, including as our 50th State
- The meaning of Aloha, (the foundation of their culture); ‘Ohana (family) and caring for each other, including the ‘Aina (the land and Nature)
- Simple Hawaiian words and phrases and how they differ from English
- Mele (songs) to sing and Hawaiian Mo'olelo (stories) shared, based on their ancient legends
- How to "talk story" (storytelling) through descriptive hand and arm gestures and rhythmic movements of your feet and legs
- Learning a simple Hula with students being encouraged to be creative in how they express themselves and the story of the Hula through the movements
- a hands-on experience with the Hawaiian crafts - i.e., making a lei
- a show and tell with hands-on options for handling and playing some of the ancient rhythm instruments used to accompany the Hula
There can also be visual presentations through power point presentations.
In the artist-in-resident program, there can be the opportunity to share the Hula and Mele they have learned and the Hawaiian craft they have made with their families at the end of the program in a Ho'ike (Sharing), if that works for the school.
"Thank you for spending the week with our kindergarten classes. I appreciate all of the history/culuture you shared with them. They really lookded forward to each day with you. P.S. I enjoyed it myself!! -Michele Davenport, The Fairforest Elementary School
Kaleo gave a presentation on the culture of Hawaii through teaching a hula to the students as part of our Diversity Day, and she did much more than that! She lead a child appropriate lesson on what the Hawaiian culture was all about. The students were engaged and could easily connect to her message. She then introduced the hula by reading part of a wonderful children's book. Kaleo mesmerized the students when she demonstrated a traditional hula, and then taught them some of the basic movements. The students loved having the opportunity to move around and dance along with Kaleo. Overall, the presentation was wonderful! I would highly recommend Kaleo and would love to have her come again." - Amanda Stonesifer, The Woodruff Elementary School