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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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$300K Award for Hawaiian Language Preschools
by press release

Hilo, HI – Sept. 17, 2014 - The Administration for Native Americans has awarded the 'Aha Punana Leo Hawaiian language nest preschools a $300,000 grant for the first year of a three-year grant project. The project will enhance and strengthen Punana Leo's quality and impact in the Native Hawaiian community through increasing language proficiency and the professional capabilities of its staff.

The grant will be used for historical research, the development of teacher guides and staff training at the annual week-long 'Aha Nu?ukia Summer Intensive training and through Semi-Annual Meetings – the only professional development and early childhood education training conducted entirely through Hawaiian.

The 'Aha Punana Leo's Project Director, Kehaulani Shintani, is excited by the news, "This grant will enable us to continue to provide training for our staff who work with children as well as develop more material for our children and families. It will also fund teacher trainings that are critical to ensuring the high standard of our language revitalization program statewide. "

This grant is the second of its kind awarded to the 'Aha Punana Leo by the Administration for Native Americans. A previous grant helped to pilot a Hawaiian medium teacher education program that has provided 62 Punana Leo teachers with college level credits through 9 Hawaiian language courses and 6 Hawaiian medium Early Childhood Education courses.

Although Hawaiian is one of two official languages in the State of Hawai?i, most early childhood education training and materials are available only in the English language. To date, very little of the States' resources have been used for Hawaiian medium early childhood education. Punana Leo has been working diligently through the support of grants such as this to create materials to support students and their families and provide Hawaiian medium teacher training equal to that supported in English schools.

'Aha Punana Leo operates 11 preschools on five islands, two infant and toddler programs, and works in partnership with four charter Hawaiian medium K-12 sites on four islands. 'Aha Punana Leo is also the first early education program conducted through an endangered and indigenous language to be accredited by World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) and is a member of a consortium of internationally recognized schools, organizations and university programs in Hawai?i dedicated to reestablishing Hawaiian as the first and main language of the home.

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