Maui News

Imua inclusion preschool opens at a Lahaina elementary school

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Imua Inclusion Preschool student, 5-year-old Charlotte Barnhartage, explores a monkey pod tree during a visit to Imua Discovery Garden in Wailuku. Photo Courtesy: Imua Family Services

Supported by a new partnership with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education and the Executive Office on Early Learning, the nonprofit Imua Family Services is opening an inclusion preschool campus at Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary School in Lahaina.

The partnership will focus on providing high-quality early learning and education and pairing it within an inclusive learning environment for children of preschool age.

The tuition-based preschool will be managed by Imua Family Services, with an allotment of placements designated to the Department of Education. As with Imua’s current inclusion preschool location, tuition assistance may be available to those who qualify through a variety of sources, including Pauahi Keiki Scholars, Child Care Connection Hawaiʻi and Preschool Open Doors.


High-quality preschool education helps prepare children for success in kindergarten, impacting not just their immediate future, but their entire academic career. The inclusion model, which Imua Inclusion Preschool has been demonstrating for the past six years, brings all types of learners together in the same classroom environment.

Together, children are able to learn compassion, understanding and helpfulness through assisting one another, and they are able to learn first-hand the many ways each individual contributes and participates in their daily activities.

The partnership inclusion preschool will be located at Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary School within the Hana-Lahainaluna-Lānaʻi-Molokaʻi Complex Area.


Imua Family Services’ history with preschool education started with a different partnership – a 2014 inclusion preschool pilot program conducted with the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College Early Education Program. Imua’s dream for inclusion education, a classroom where children with special needs would learn alongside typically developing peers, then morphed into the Imua Inclusion Preschool, which opened within and at the same time as the agency’s Early Childhood Development Center in Kahului.

For six years, Imua Inclusion Preschool has provided preschool services to children living with a wide variety of special needs and special learning needs, including behavioral disorders, critical health and disability issues, and speech/hearing issues to name a few.

Imua Inclusion Preschools are under the oversight of Imua Family Services’ Director of Clinical Services Dr. Bobbi-Jo Moniz-Tadeo; Director of Educational Services Dr. Lori de Crinis; and Executive Director Dean Wong.


Student applications are now being accepted for Imua Inclusion Preschool programs. Teacher and teacher assistant applications also are being accepted for the West Maui preschool. For further information, instructions on how to apply and a copy of the application, please visit our website at or call us at 808-244-7467. Limited spaces are available and early application is encouraged.


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