Parent Participation Preschool for All Keiki
Keiki Steps is a WINHEC accredited family child interactive preschool for children birth to age five that provides FREE early education enrichment for families and children. Keiki Steps works to empower parents or caregivers as their keiki’s first and best teacher, and, to work as advocates for their children’s learning and academic successes. Families attend alongside keiki for a safe and fun first learning experience that is culturally enriching and age appropriate. Keiki Steps educators and families work in partnership to prepare students for school, providing a firm foundation for success in education and life, and building pride and confidence in knowing who they are and where they come from.
The transition from home to a formal school environment can be exciting but intimidating for our keiki. INPEACE built Keiki Steps to bridge the gap between home and school by creating a parent participation program that places both children and their parents or caregivers in a classroom setting together. Keiki can learn to socialize and acclimate to a school setting while feeling safe with their parents in new surroundings. Designed to promote children’s development and school readiness through a cultural lens, Keiki Steps draws upon traditional Hawaiian cultural practices like genealogy (moʻokūʻauhau) Kauhale (traditional family systems), chant (oli), and hula as a way to shape parent and child learning interactions.
The benefits of Keiki Steps involvement are threefold:
- keiki gently transition to a school environment
- parents and caregivers learn new and helpful techniques to build their child’s love for learning
- keiki and adults alike build a stronger connection with all that it means to be Hawaiian or to live on this ‘ā
Keiki Steps in 2017
children were involved in the Keiki Steps program
After 20 years of parent-child interactive preschool, preliminary evidence suggests that Keiki Steps could be creating generational change in vocabulary skills. In a recent external evaluation, indicators show that younger siblings of children who have already been through Keiki Steps enter the program with higher Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) scores.
*Based on eligibility to be assessed on the post-PPVT
Keiki Steps in Practice
Keiki Preschool Curriculum
In a Keiki Steps preschool, qualified early childhood educators lead fun activities and promote exploration through hands-on, interactive learning, with activities including:
- Sensory exploration
- Science & discovery
- Building blocks
- Thinking games & puzzles
- Circle time
- Dramatic play
- Infant center
- Outdoor exploration
Field trips one Friday a month extend learning beyond the classroom, and ʻOhana Nurturing events one Friday a month strengthen parent understanding of early childhood development.
“Honestly, if it wasn’t for Keiki Steps I would just probably have to go to the library and get books and do what I could on my own. It’s a bit challenging for me because I don’t have the family support or the people support here to really know how to make that happen without Keiki Steps…By the teachers modeling how to interact with children at this age and interact with them in a way that teaches them hands-on through play and other activities… The teachers really have a great ability to show how play can be a teachable moment so that’s been very helpful because then I am able to do it at home with my kids.”
— Nichole Woo on Keiki Steps
Now a part of the Keiki Steps program, Keiki Steps to Kindergarten is an accelerated school readiness program for keiki who have little to no preschool experience. This summer program helps children transition into a larger school environment through educational lessons and socialization with other keiki. Parents are also encouraged to participate in the parent engagement workshops that help prepare them to support their child’s education.
Building Positive Family Experiences
Uniquely situated on or near DOE school campuses on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, and Kauaʻi, Keiki Steps seeks to build positive family experiences on campuses where keiki will be attending kindergarten. This provides families and keiki with a familiarity of future school campus spaces and with school staff. Keiki Steps programming also provides parents with guidance and strategies for advocating for your child’s academic success in years to come. Classes run from August through May, operating three hours daily from 8:30-11:30 am, Monday through Thursday. Parent or adult caregiver participation is required.
Your Donation Impacts the Community
In 2017, 639 children, 514 families, participated in Keiki Steps and 98% met the majority of the Hawaii State School Readiness Assessment benchmarks for school readiness. INPEACE operated programs at 12 sites on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island to help Keiki prepare for school. Creating a love for learning and building the self-confidence necessary to acclimate to a school environment, Keiki Steps is building brighter futures for children and the communities they come from.
In 2018, INPEACE’s Keiki Steps program has expanded to 14 individual preschool sites, adding on the island of Kaua‘i and new sites on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island, providing more school readiness opportunities to children in need. Donations like yours allow key funding for locations, activities, and cultural experiences. No donation is too small.
Our Program Supporters
U.S. Department of Education Native Hawaiian Education Program; and Moving Kids Forward Foundation