Children, like sponges, absorb everything. New experiences, new words, new behaviors; they all make a difference and impact their futures. These early formative years are crucial, which is why an early childhood education has a substantial effect on life outcomes. However, only 51% of 3-4-year-olds across the US attend pre-primary programs, and there has been no improvement in the last 15 years1. A quality, early childhood education can mold our keiki, setting the foundation for their lifelong journey.
An early childhood education benefits young children in so many ways from developing social skills, learning how to cooperate and respect others, instilling the importance of teamwork, developing patience, and so much more. INPEACE, one of the local non-profits we partner with, knows this and has focused on educating and empowering Native Hawaiian Communities and their keiki since 1994. They offer FREE community-based cultural awareness and education programs to help enhance the lives of fellow Native Hawaiians! INPEACE has various educational and cultural programs in place that integrate an innovative approach to teaching and learning. In 2017, 5,348 children, parents, and community members were served statewide2.
One of the reasons why INPEACE is so amazing is that they often employ members of the Native Hawaiian community and parents/participants in INPEACE programs, all while serving those who need it most. In 20172:
- 90% of INPEACE staff came from the community they served
- 96% of INPEACE staff were Native Hawaiian or another ethnic minority
By focusing on giving back, the community they serve has, in turn, given their services back to them. 60,761 volunteer hours were donated in 2017, a 6% increase since 20162!
Keiki Steps: A Program By INPEACE
One of their programs, Keiki Steps, is a WINHEC accredited family child interactive preschool for children under the age of five. It's a two-generation parent participation preschool program. They have a free parent participation program in place that educates and empowers parents or caregivers to become their "keiki's first and best teacher." Together, educators and families prepare student for school and build a foundation for success in life. In a Keiki Steps preschool, qualified educators lead activities, hands-on learning, and field trips once per month!
Keiki Steps offers structural educational support for in-home childcare providers who bring children to the program. In 2017, 399 students were served! Over 6,000 keiki and families have successfully transitioned to 49 different school across the state since 2004! Parents have been able to watch their child grow and develop skills such as sharing, problem solving, speaking, listening, and following directions. Keiki are given the opportunity to try new things, be more independent, make new friends, and have fun learning! Keiki Steps is currently situated in 14 DOE schools across the Hawaiian islands including Oahu, the Big Island, and Kauai2.
Ever looked at the back of any Waiakea bottle and noticed the organizations we partner with? Two percent of revenue is donated to local Hawaiian non-profits, including Keiki Steps. We're so honored to support local Hawaiians (and such an amazing cause)!