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TEACH: Our Curriculum Approach & Philosophy

In my initial brainstorm for Kilo Ua, I had planned to build it around a STEAM curriculum. This educational buzzword, STEAM is a derivative of STEM, a well known educational construct grouping together science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Of course, as someone who appreciates and understands the importance of the arts, I chose STEAM over STEM. Through my own academic journey, I came to appreciate science and mathematics. For a few semesters in college, I majored in Civil Engineering but opted for Geology a few semesters later so that I could graduate earlier. I yearned to return home to study Volcanology after learning more about it while interning for the Hawaiʻi Volcano Observatory on Hawaiʻi Island.

Science has always peaked my interest but learning about my culture has become my compass. Culture influences our lifestyles, the languages we speak, the constructs by which we govern our lives, the conversations we initiate, the places we live and work, the way we raise our children, the causes we stand for. Most importantly, I believe that culture teaches the humility to see ourselves as mere caretakers of the Earth. 

I wanted culture to be at the forefront of Kilo Books Hawaiʻi. The most important concept that was missing from STEAM was “C” for Culture. One day, the acronym TEACH came to me. TEACH stands for: Technology, (Nature’s) Engineering, Art & Analysis, Culture, and Hypothesis. For Kilo Ua, Technology translates into the ability to carry out a series of steps that integrates the process of production. In Kilo Ua, we achieve this with the raindrop origami.

We feature Engineering through highlighting the water cycle as a maze that illustrates the natural processes that create rain and water.We provide activities for our keiki (children) to explore, interpret, and freely draw what they observe each week. Additionally, keiki have the ability to color their raindrop origami and share their kilo journey by coloring and sending a postcard to a friend or family member.

Analysis is thoughtfully built into three different timeframes: daily, weekly, and monthly. As a daily practice families observe rain activity over five time blocks as well as gather a weather snapshot.

In the weekly view, families analyze their observations for the day and deduce the average event for the day in the “Mostly” category. In the “Month Overview” section of the book, families can analyze their daily average over a monthly time frame and get a sense of rainfall activity.

The native Hawaiian practice of Kilo, which is the central practice of this field guide, seeks to build and instill the practice of observation within our keiki to inspire them to aspire to be an observer first in all things they do in life. To further demonstrate the nuances of Culture and depth of connection that Hawaiians have with wai (water), He Mele No Kāne, an ancient Hawaiian chant graces the pages of the book and represents the ethos of kilo masters.

Hypothesis is the ʻīnana (a show of liveliness of young birds that are about to fly), that happens when the keiki and mākua are ignited in meaningful dialogue about the ideas derived from their own observations and data. 

A curriculum built around TEACH allows families to create their own stories through observing and documenting. Share your #kilojourney with us at @kilobookshawaii!