Keiki Steps to Kindergarten 2018-09-10T21:56:29+00:00


Preparing Keiki & Families for Kindergarten

A lack of access to important resources in Native Hawaiian communities makes it difficult for parents to help prepare their keiki for kindergarten. Each potential student is required to pass the Hawaii State School Readiness Assessment to start school. To help families break down educational barriers and stay on track, INPEACE offers Keiki Steps to Kindergarten (KSTK) an accelerated school readiness program for children who have little to no preschool experience.

KSTK is a free summer transition program aimed at readying children for a larger school environment. Through culturally-relevant educational lessons, budding students have the opportunity to socialize and build the right foundation to pass the school readiness assessment and thrive in kindergarten and beyond.

Keiki Steps to Kindergarten in 2017

157 of the 399 participating students had no prior preschool experience

keiki and families have successfully transitioned to 49 different schools across the state since 2004

parents attended four hours of parent engagement workshops

of parents said the program taught them what to expect in kindergarten and how to support a child in a school environment

In 2017, 28 schools successfully participated in the KSTK program, reaching 399 students, 39% of whom had no prior preschool experience. The numbers are telling. Of the parents that participated, 96% of parents found the program helped their child try new things, gain independence, make new friends, and view learning as fun. 86% of parents noticed their child’s growth in being part of a group, sharing, solving problems, speaking, listening, and following directions.

Keiki Steps to Kindergarten in Practice

KSTK Summer Options

KSTK allows keiki time to make new friends, be socially and academically oriented to the school environment, learn school and classroom routines and helps them be more comfortable in a BIG school environment.

There are two summer program options for Keiki:

KSTK Two-Week Program
Keiki participate for 4 ½ hours daily on DOE elementary school campuses for two consecutive weeks

KSTK Three-Week Program
Keiki participate for 3 hours daily on DOE elementary school campuses for three consecutive weeks

Parent Engagement

KSTK also provides family engagement workshops for parents. These workshops are designed to provide parents with information on how to support their child’s academic success in language arts and math. Our KSTK staff also offer parents resources to help guide their child’s transition into the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) system. KSTK operates at various HIDOE schools statewide, on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi and Maui.


“One student was having a very rough time coming to class each day. It took the entire first week and a couple of extra days for him to make the transition. By the eighth or ninth day, he started to come in easily and was ready to go. When praised for being so brave to come to school, he just smiled.”

— Summer Lefau, Lā’ie Elementary

“We had a girl who didn’t have any preschool experience…but had an answer for everything when given direction. During the duration of her attendance, she learned how to sit properly and follow instructions. She also learned how to write her name.”

— Wendi Kimura, Keaukaha Elementary


KSTK operates at various HIDOE schools on the islands of HawaiʻiOʻahuand Kauaʻi. Inquire with the school Principal.   

Enrolling Keiki

To ensure a smooth registration process, INPEACE has developed a kindergarten checklist:

  • Contact your neighborhood school or district office to learn which school your child will be attending.
  • Schedule a physical examination and an appointment for the required immunizations. Complete form 14.
  • Pick up a registration packet from your elementary school office as early as February 1.
  • Bring the following documents to your elementary school office:
    • Kindergarten registration form
    • Child’s birth certificate
    • Document showing proof of address
    • Form 14, or immunization form

Registering your child early for kindergarten requires preparation. Plan to register your child for school for the first time knowing that you have done everything you can to facilitate a stress-free procedure.

Your Donation Impacts the Community

In 2017, KSTK served 399 students, 157 of which had no pre-school experience. Through our summer school readiness program, parents surveyed said they learned how to support their children in a school environment and learned the importance of being involved in their keiki’s learning process. Over 85% of parents saw their child’s growth in being a part of a group, in sharing and solving problems, with speaking and listening as well as following directions. Over 90% found the program helped their child try new things, gain independence, make new friends, and view learning as fun. 

In 2018, INPEACE plans to collaborate with 20 schools statewide to provide kindergarten transition services. However, funding for 2019 has been dramatically decreased, limiting the areas for summer programming to schools in the areas where our Keiki Steps parent-participation preschools are operating. This will result in the discontinuation of the KSTK program in areas that have operated for over 10 years.

Donations like yours will make it possible to offer summer KSTK programming for areas outside of the preschool service area, ensuring students in need get the preschool experience necessary to help them transition smoothly into kindergarten. No donation is too small.

  • $100 buys supplies for up to 10 students
  • $300 buys snacks and supplies for a KSTK site
  • $500 covers the cost of a student for a 3-week program; OR provides a 2-hr literacy or math workshop, for up to 50 parents, teaching parents strategies to support their child’s education.
  • $1,000 provides training for up to 30 staff
  • $3,000 pays for one teacher for the summer session.
  • $5,000 covers one KSTK summer session site, along with a DOE school supplement
  • $12,000 covers an entire summer session for up to 25 students

Donate Now