Gathering together in a ceremonious manner, over 200 people in the ‘Iolani community witnessed the blessing of the new K-1 Community expansion on August 29. The attendees enjoyed performances by ‘Iolani alumna Megan Kawamura ’18, the ladies of Hālau ‘Iolani, and students from Lower School. As a part of the ceremony, Head of School Dr.Timothy Cottrell spoke and recognized numerous guests for their contributions, including ‘Iolani’s own alumna, Ashley Pang ’18, for her innovative prototype of a wooden tree house with massive tree boughs under which students can read, relax, reflect or interact with each other. These features draw upon and perpetuate elements that exist in each of the current classrooms.
“Currently the first grade classrooms have a loft,” said Dean of Lower School Zachary Linnert. “This is a design feature the first grade teachers said they want to preserve.”
The K-1 Community anticipates its move into the new campus expansion in March 2019. In addition to the facilities already available, the development of new classrooms, studios and labs has the K-1 community waiting with excitement for the new space and opportunities that will come along with the expansion. The different components of the K-1 Community expansion will further exemplify the school’s motto of “One Team” and accomplish goals of creating leading-edge facilities and programs that will enable students to develop their thinking, learning and creative skills.
Another example of this is the natural playground that will “allow for differentiated learning in small or larger groups, and enable youngsters to connect nature to the classroom and the classroom to nature.” The K-1 expansion will include five free-standing buildings with 10 new classrooms in total and will surround an expansive, park-like natural playground for youngsters to run and explore. Different from a traditional playground, the natural playground will be built from a blend of sustainable natural and man-made resources that promote durability and safety, and encourage creativity and curiosity.
“The idea behind the natural playground is not saying that old playgrounds limit children, but they do provide a formula of how play should go,” said Linnert. “The natural playground kind of takes that formula away and says you can find play in any environment.”
The five new buildings, each containing two classrooms, will allow the teaching space of the current K-1 classrooms to double. Along with the expansion of space, an additional 24 Kindergarten students will also be accepted to the ‘Iolani community bringing the school’s Kindergarten classes to 96 students overall.
After months of planning and meetings with designers and architects, `Iolani’s administrators, together with kindergarten and first grade faculty have created a collaborative and thoughtful approach to how `Iolani’s youngest students will experience and enjoy learning for years to come.
“For all of us on campus, this is an incredible thing for us to be here at this point today,” said Director of Advancement Kim Gennaula. “This dream and vision what we talked about is starting to take shape.”