Preschool, Pre-kindergarten, and Kindergarten Curriculum:
Hongwanji Mission School (HMS) provides each child with a solid foundation beginning in the Preschool 3-year-old program and continuing through the Pre-kindergarten 4-year old program and Kindergarten.
Our Preschool and Pre-kindergarten environment provides many opportunities for the children to interact during play and develop appropriate social skills as they learn Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Hands-on activities are integrated to reinforce the concepts being studied. In addition, the children attend music, library, physical education, swimming instruction, and Japanese resource classes twice a week and Buddhist Education once a week.
Art, drama, and technology literacy resource classes are added in the Kindergarten curriculum. At HMS we believe that a balanced variety of experiences and learning opportunities will help our students develop their academic, social, problem solving, and decision-making skills. We would like our students to exhibit cooperation, persistence, and creativity as they become engaged and successful lifelong learners.
Preschool through Kindergarten classes participate in all school functions, from morning assembly to our annual all-school field day. We believe that coming together as a whole school reinforces the “family-style” environment and makes our Preschool through Kindergarten programs unique.
First and Second Grade Curriculum:
In first and second grade, a positive learning environment is vital in fostering our students' social, emotional, physical, and academic development. A sense of community is also created based on the Buddhist values of compassion, respect, and interdependence. Our goal is to provide a balanced curriculum with high academic standards that meets the needs of our students.
The language arts program integrates reading, phonics, grammar, spelling, and writing. We strive to develop a love for reading and writing through a variety of ways that encourage self-expression and imagination.
The math program is guided by state and national standards. In addition to learning math concepts, it is important that our students develop problem solving skills and understand real-world applications. Technology and project-based activities are implemented to encourage our students to become 21st century learners.
Resource classes include art, music, drama, physical education, swimming, technology literacy, library studies, Japanese language and culture, Buddhist Education, and media/graphic design.
Third through Fifth Grade Curriculum:
The upper elementary grades build upon the solid foundation of skills and knowledge acquired thus far. Students in the third, fourth, and fifth grade work to perpetuate Buddhist values through buddy class activities, community service, and cultural exchanges with students throughout the world. Students experience a rigorous academic curriculum while having many opportunities to engage in inquiry learning and hands-on learning activities. Critical thinking and project-based learning are also emphasized in the upper elementary grades.
The third graders are introduced to novel studies, literature circles, and the research process. Students strengthen their reading skills through collaboration and group analysis of different novels. They investigate topics of interest and creatively share what they have learned with others. The students engage in an animal research project and end the year with a sleepover at the Honolulu zoo.
Through an integrated curriculum, fourth grade students learn about the formation of the Hawaiian Islands, indigenous flora and fauna, and Native Hawaiian culture. Hands-on activities include building models of a volcano, an ahupua’a, and a canoe. At the end of the year the students go on a four-day study tour to the Big Island to see native species, the Kilauea volcano, and to experience Hawaiian cultural activities.
The fifth grade curriculum emphasizes the study of American history. Through communication with people across the country, a study of the stock market, and project-based learning experiences that incorporate different subject areas, the students learn about how our country was built, how it changed, and how it runs today. Each student creates a digital portfolio that tracks and displays their progress. The year culminates with a two-week study tour to the East Coast where the students see and experience all that they have learned throughout the year.
All of the students participate in resource classes throughout the year. These classes include: art, music, drama, physical education, swimming, technology literacy, library studies, Japanese language and culture, Buddhist Education, and media/graphic design.
Middle School Curriculum:
HMS middle school provides a standards-based core curriculum with spiraling three-year courses in math, science, language arts, and social studies. Core subjects are taught by teachers certified in their content area and integrate technology with project-based learning to maximize student engagement and provide real life application of concepts and skills. The middle school math program prepares students for Algebra in the 8th grade. The science program covers the essential content from Earth Science, Biology, and Physics and emphasizes the development of the scientific method with integrated projects. In language arts, students learn to appreciate literature from diverse cultures as they develop reading comprehension skills. Students also practice effective writing skills and learn to express their ideas in creative ways. In social studies, students experience topics from World History, Hawaiian Studies, and American History while learning to work collaboratively and communicate clearly. Students relate concepts to their own lives as they work through hands-on projects that culminate with presentations of learning.
This strong core curriculum is enhanced with an excellent resource program that rounds out each student's total experience and provides additional opportunities for personal growth. Weekly Buddhist Education classes teach Buddhist principles and encourage students to reflect and apply them in their daily lives and personal interactions. Other resource classes include: art, music, drama, physical education, swimming, life skills, technology literacy, library studies, Japanese language and culture, taiko, and media/graphic design. The 8th grade year culminates with a two-week study tour to Japan where students visit our sister school and engage in authentic cultural and ceremonial learning experiences.
HMS students are challenged to learn academically and grow personally and are provided with a network of support along the way. Our middle school program prepares students to successfully transition into Pacific Buddhist Academy and other top Hawaii high schools.
Schools for the 21st Century: In Spring of 2009 Hongwanji Mission School was awarded a five-year grant to become a School for the 21st Century. As a result, the school has identified three target areas:
Students and teachers, alike, are excitedly learning how to use technology to enrich their educational experiences.