‘Imiloa offers second fall session of Halau Lamaku program for keiki

  • Courtesy photo A child participates in an outdoor learning activity about the uses of kalo and how to plant it during session one of ‘Imiloa’s Halau Lamaku program.

  • Courtesy photo A child participates in an activity focused on learning about the octopus, what it eats and the food chain during session one of ‘Imiloa’s Halau Lamaku program.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is offering a second session of the fall enrichment program Halau Lamaku for keiki in grades K-5 from Oct. 19-Dec. 4.

Halau Lamaku is a place- and culture-based enrichment program honoring the lama, a native dry forest tree that grows in Hawaii and nowhere else in the world. Lama signifies “light” or “enlightenment,” evoking learning, knowledge and understanding. Program participants will go on a learning journey to discover Hawaii and strengthen their connection to our island home.


These young explorers will experience fun, engaging and educational activities, crafts, games, outdoor exploration and observations grounded in Hawaiian culture, science, math and art. Explorations from deep ocean to deep space and everything in between — all from ‘Imiloa’s facilities and outdoor gardens. The program’s structure will also support the students’ required distance learning sessions and remote schoolwork.

According to Jon Suzuki, whose son is enrolled in the first session of the program, “this program provides a venue where my son is supervised all day. He has been able to complete his school’s online lessons in addition to learning the fascinating and important things about Hawaiian culture, language and natural history and science.”

The Halau Lamaku experience is designed to provide social and academic interactions in a learning environment that is engaging and fully compliant with COVID-19 safety protocols.

“I can tell that my child is really learning and having fun because every afternoon, she comes home with a project and is so excited to tell us about it,” said Laurie Yoneda, the mother of a participant in Halau Lamaku session one. “She has her own show-and-tell sessions when she visits her nana and papa every Sunday. On the day when she made an origami caterpillar at ‘Imiloa, she came home and played teacher and taught us how to make it with origami paper.”

The program will also feature exposure to career opportunities, where speakers from various STEM-related fields will be invited to share their professions and answer questions from the inquisitive young participants in interactive Zoom sessions.

Through a Hawaii County coronavirus relief grant, partnership with ‘Aha Punana Leo and contributions from Ama OluKai Foundation and the Pi‘ianai‘a Endowment at ‘Imiloa, this program is able to be offered at reduced cost, with scholarships available. This innovative seven-week program is offered to ‘Imiloa members for $695 per child or to nonmembers for $995 per child.

“It does take a village to raise a child and we are extremely thankful for the critical financial support from our valuable partners and donors,” said ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center Executive Director Ka‘iu Kimura. “COVID-19 has dramatically impacted all of our revenue streams since March and this program would simply not be possible without their generosity!”

Sarah Naleimaile has two children attending session one.

“During this pandemic we were fortunate to receive scholarship assistance, but I truly believe this program is 100% worth the investment,” said Naleimaile. “There is a new curriculum every day! And to get the children outdoors to explore on ‘Imiloa grounds, how fun is that!”

Scholarship applications are available and open. Proof of financial need is required. Registration starts Friday, Sept. 25, for members and Friday, Oct. 2, for nonmembers. Those interested in the special pricing for members are invited to sign up for ‘Imiloa membership (family level or higher) now at https://imiloahawaii.org/members.


Space is limited and enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

For the scholarship application form and more information about ‘Imiloa Halau Lamaku, visit https://imiloahawaii.org/halau-lamaku.

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