Maui’s Kula Elementary School was selected as one of five state-funded Pre-K classrooms for the 2018-2019 school year.
Officials with the state Department of Education say a child’s early years are critical in establishing a strong foundation for education and research has shown that early childhood education sets the foundation for life-long learning and success.
According to the DOE, investing in high quality early childhood programs have resulted in narrowing achievement gaps, decreasing the need for special education and increasing high school graduation and college attendance rates.
The Executive Office on Early Learning launched Hawaiʻi’s first publicly funded Pre-Kindergarten program in the 2014-15 school year.
The program provides early learning experiences to students in the year prior to kindergarten eligibility. As a partnership between the Hawaiʻi Department of Education and Executive Office on Early Learning, 21 pre-kindergarten classrooms on 19 HIDOE elementary school campuses statewide constitute Hawaiʻi’s first State-funded pre-kindergarten program.
The program is a first step toward developing Hawaiʻi’s early learning system and is currently in its fourth year.
The five new schools that were selected for participation in the new public pre-kindergarten classroom program  for the 2018-19 school year, based on a competitive application process. The schools include:
Kohala Elementary (Hawaiʻi Island)
Kula Elementary (Maui)
Kilohana Elementary (Molokaʻi)
Kailua Elementary (Oʻahu)
Kalihi Uka Elementary (Oʻahu)
“Through this program, we have the opportunity to empower young children who otherwise would not have access to high quality early childhood education,” said Lauren Moriguchi, EOEL Executive Director. “This partnership has the potential to shape lives and change future trajectories. We are fortunate to have received funding for expansion of the program and are excited to open five new pre-k classrooms in the 2018-19 school year.”
Kapalama and Keolu Elementary Schools have been designated as alternates and have been invited to participate in EOEL’s Early Learning Induction Program, which is required for school teams to attend prior to opening a new EOEL Pre-Kindergarten Classroom.