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SP - Ke Kula 'o Samuel M. Kamakau LPCS

Kaneohe, Hawaii

A love of gardening and Hawaiian tradition grows in these multi-generational garden beds. 

Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamaka, a K-12 Hawaiian language immersion charter school in Kaneohe, Hawaii, is rooted in a thirst for knowledge, traditional culture, and community growth that its namesake—Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau, a renowned Native Hawaiian scholar, genealogist, historian, teacher, and legislator—represented.   

In the spirit of new beginnings, the school started their garden program after a move to a new campus in Haʻiku. A multi-generational effort between parents, teachers, and students has sprouted hearty garden beds and a sturdy foundation for learning.

During the first year, parents took the lead and built raised beds for the students to grow various vegetables and even constructed a chicken coop. The teachers have assigned work times during the day for the students to learn how to care for the plants and animals, and an in-ground garden of regional treats, like Kalo (Taro plant), Uala (sweet potato), and Ipu (gourds) has also been added.

Once the construction of the garden and the chicken coop was finished, the teachers were able to bring the garden into the students' everyday learning—even the youngest of kids. 

“Every Friday,” Martina Kamaka, Garden Coordinator explains, “the preschool students incorporated 'pa’ ina po’ alima,' where they gathered eggs from the chicken coop and the vegetables from the garden to prepare breakfast.” Not only do the preschoolers get a hands on learning experience that exposes them to fresh food gathering, preparation, and native tradition, they inspire the big kids to get their hands dirty in the garden too! After the older elementary students saw what their younger classmates were involved in, they became excited as well and wanted to become more involved in learning how to care for both plants and animals. 

Kamakau school is currently planning a larger school garden where more teachers and learners of every age will be able to get involved.