Gardening & Sustainable Living Program
The vegetable garden beds, compost areas, and common grounds at Kona Pacific are located in the ahupua’a of Kanaueue. This beautiful land is a gift as old as the rocks, composed of resources delivered by nature herself, and over the years many generations have cared for the aina, protecting and cultivating rich, deep soil. More recently, many aunties, uncles, and students have also cared for the land with their love and tools. These contributions of respect and love for the land yield space for student character building, skill development and self appreciation. In this special place students may learn to slow their pace of activity to be in harmony with the pace of life.
Alive With Abundance
It is clear to all who visit the Kona Pacific campus that it is ALIVE with beauty and outdoor activities: the sounds of the wild animals in early dawn; the sounds of the wind and rain moving the leaves; the smells of freshly cut grass. Close observation shows that our school and campus are rooted on the land.
We receive daily so many gifts of seeing and feeling from the land!
Wide-open green and grassy outdoor play spaces with shady corners and trees to lie beneath.
Forest areas to explore in adventures guided by the teacher, with lessons in feelings, imaginative play, and watching birds building nests.
The joy of collecting bananas from a recently-cut rack, attracting students like an opened piñata.
Gardens with deep soil supporting Hawaiian canoe plants, other edibles, herbs, and flowers throughout the campus, inviting connection to the soil.
Gardening and Sustainable Agriculture classes in the gardens offered to all grade levels, as students place their hands into and build their deep connection with the soil.
Garden harvests helping us to develop recipes and to cook, and make salads and nutritious snacks with.
Students in their daily classroom chores caring for their classroom spaces; recyclable materials, including even pencil shavings, taken to the compost with the sun warming our backs and a fly buzzing in our ear.
In normal instructional mode:
Fresh fruit and vegetable snacks from local farms are delivered to each classroom.
Our after-school enrichment program allows the students to play upon and connect to the diversity of the land.
Earth Day reminds us of our common substance and our shared definition of EARTH. We can learn the the story of our own needs and the widening stories of ecosystems in great need. We are one substance.
Kindergarten - Grade 2
Our KPPCS garden and sustainable agriculture lessons are based on Biodynamic principles and Hawaiian-garden-based knowledge and curriculum. They are intended to help our students glow and grow so they can inspire others to love the land and find perhaps an ancient tool in the ground as their work culminates with practical skills.
In kindergarten through grade 2 students explore the seasonal garden with quiet time observing (‘Kilo panana’) their senses, hearts, and hands. They learn about natural phenomena by listening and observing, interacting and wondering. We explore and wonder as we do gardening tasks with tools, prepare snacks from the harvest, and draw / sketch what we see.
Grade 3 students explore the garden with growing engagement in their world. They do hands-on projects such as building bird houses and feeders, and begin to establish journal practices. We dye fabric with harvested plants, care for ‘adopted’ plants, build benches and dwellings for small creatures, and harvest. Using snacks, recipes, and the Aina Food Guide we emphasize healthy eating.
Grade 4 students deepen their embodied knowledge through map-making, scientific inquiry, projects, and canoe plants. We harvest and make snacks, dehydrate fruit, and share stories of food and recipes from our families and cultures. They may take part in watching for helpers, pests and nuisance animals.
Grade 5 garden lessons highlight the main lesson study of botany and its applications. We learn about insects, pest management and pollinators, habitats, and keeping plants healthy. We deepen our understanding of science concepts by looking at applications in the garden including of cutting, collecting and drying plant materials. Nutrition choices are discussed in the context of ‘Close to the Source’ foods, local foods, and the Aina Food Guide. Canoe plants are harvested for fiber and crafting.
Grade 6 students become the record-keepers of the garden, tracking inputs and outputs, weather, various living organisms, and managing specific garden beds. Business math learned in class is applied to harvests. We introduce media literacy as we explore healthy foods, packaging, and food choices. We audit the waste stream through measurement and record-keeping. We support the festival-harvesting needs of the school. We prepare the soil for the lower grades planting projects. We study early ecology and relationships.
Grade 7 students explore their kuleana to the land and community. They engage in projects around all of the living campus to serve the needs of the other classes and the school. We incorporate the main lesson subjects of physics and mechanics in using tools and building rock walls. In learning about physiology, we look at plant physiology and both human and plant nutritional needs. We address garden infrastructure and manage the compost system. This is an important task with school lunch and snack scraps coming into the compost area and then the abundant harvesting of cured compost flowing into the garden plots. There can be time for the making of wreaths and mats. Out in the forest, there is the task of trail and forest management.
Grade 8 coalesces the learning of previous years in the garden. Students learn about the food system, local food, and climate change and its impacts on the food supply. They take on projects that require endurance and physical effort and learn permaculture, biodynamic agriculture, and Korean farming methods. We expand on our main lesson work, for example by using organic chemistry to explore nutrition (.e.g., pickling and wax sealing) and soil science with crop rotations. If there is time, in the greenwood forest station poles, chairs and ladders can be made. Charcoal burning in an iron age forge draws many helping hands.