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ÿO ke kahua ma mua, ma hope ke kükulu.

The foundation comes first and then the building.
Learn all you can, then practice.
Mary Kawena Püku’i, ÿÖlelo Noÿeau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings #2459.

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Kamehameha Schools Philosophy of Education

The belief statements of the Philosophy of Education that follow are inspired by the example of Ke Ali’i Pauahi and are based on sound educational principles. In a fashion similar to what the ‘Olelo No’eau above suggests, the philosophy provides the foundation upon which Kamehameha Schools builds its educational practices as we implement the Strategic Plan.

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We believe that Kamehameha Schools as a Hawaiian institution and its learners1 have a responsibility to practice and perpetuate ÿIke Hawaiÿi as a source of strength and resilience for the future.

Therefore, Kamehameha Schools will:

  • Foster pride in the Hawaiian culture, language, history and traditions that serves as its foundation.
  • Integrate ‘Ike Hawai’i into its educational programs and services.
  • Provide the necessary learning opportunities, resources and training to deepen the understanding of ‘Ike Hawai’i.
  • Strengthen the relationship and the responsibility of its learners to the ÿäina, its resources and traditions.

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We believe that every learner possesses a unique combination of talents, abilities, interests and needs and that each is able to achieve higher levels of excellence.

Therefore, Kamehameha Schools will:

  • acknowledge the uniqueness of each learner.
  • assist each learner in achieving core understandings and skills.
  • offer enrichment  opportunities to encourage each learner to develop individual talents and interests.
  • strive to be available and affordable to encourage broad participation of the learning community.

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We believe that the earliest years of a child's life are the most critical to development and set the stage for future learning.

Therefore, Kamehameha Schools will assist by providing early childhood educational services that support families2 as the primary educators of their children.

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We believe that positive and nurturing relationships are an essential foundation of learning.


  • all members of the Kamehameha community that includes learners, staff, families and alumni are role models and will demonstrate attitudes and behaviors consistent with Hawaiian and Christian values.
  • all will develop and support positive connections and interactions with learners.

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We believe that all learners create meaning by building on prior knowledge, actively using their learning in personally relevant ways and contributing positively to the global community.

Therefore, Kamehameha Schools programs will:

  • support the learning process through a diverse and integrated curriculum and a range of services that are enhanced by the use of relevant technologies, real-life connections, and authentic experiences.
  • encourage learners to use their learning in service to their 'ohana, the community and the world.
We believe that the quality of instruction is enhanced by collaboration, professional developmentand the application of research based practices.


  • Kamehameha Schools will:
    • provide time and resources for professional development and collaboration.
    • support and engage in research and evaluation activities to improve the quality and effectiveness of education.
    • extend professional development opportunities to its learning communities.
  • each member of the learning community will commit to ongoing professional development and collaboration to optimize learner success.

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We believe that education is enhanced by involvement of the learner and all members of the learner's community.

Therefore, Kamehameha Schools programs will:

  • provide opportunities for learners to share in and assume greater responsibility for their own development.
  • promote the active involvement of families.
  • encourage open communication and seek input from those impacted.

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We believe that the effectiveness of our institution in meeting its mission is enhanced by collaboration and partnerships.

Therefore, Kamehameha Schools will:

  • recognize and encourage the good works of other programs and institutions.
  • contribute to building a network of services to meet the life-long educational needs of Hawaiians.

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1 Learner in the context of this Philosophy of Education refers to people of all ages participating in the full range of Kamehameha programs.
2 Family in the context of this Philosophy of Education refers to the learner’s primary support system.

Excerpts from the Kamehameha Strategic Plan 2000-2015
The Philosophy of Education must be seen within the greater context of the Kamehameha Strategic Plan because it guides the implementation of that plan.  Therefore, key portions of the strategic plan are reproduced below to remind us of that context.

Values Statement

Aloha Ke Akua

Nui ke aloha o Pauahi i ke Akua, kona  poÿe Hawaiÿi, ka ÿimi naÿauao ÿana a me ka mälama ÿana i nä mea pono o kona lähui.

Ua ÿike pono ÿo Pauahi i ka nui o kona waiwai ma ka honua a me ke kuleana i kau ÿia ma luna ona.  ÿO këia ka manaÿo pono no ka ÿohana Kamehameha e hoÿomau i ko Pauahi kuleana me ka haÿahaÿa a me ka hana pono.

ÿIhiÿihi ke aloha o Pauahi i ke Akua a me Kona mea e piha ai.

Great was Pauahi’s love for God and the Hawaiian people, whom she served.  Because she valued the pursuit of knowledge, she believed that education would be the key to their well-being.  Pauahi was blessed with much worldly wealth and understood that this blessing was accompanied by profound responsibility.  Therefore, it is fitting for the Kamehameha Schools ÿohana, called upon to carry her legacy forward, to humbly do so through good thoughts and deeds that reflect the values of stewardship in her Will.

Kamehameha Schools is grounded in the Christian and Hawaiian values embraced by Ke Aliyi Pauahi.  Aloha, love and respect for the Lord, our natural world, and one another, is our foundation.  ÿImi naÿauao, the quest for knowledge and enlightenment, is essential for an educational institution such as Kamehameha.  Mälama, caring for one another and all aspects of Pauahi’s legacy, will enable our institution to flourish.  ÿIke pono urges us to integrate our intellect and our intuition.  Kuleana denotes the responsibilities, which accompany our blessings.  Let us hoÿomau, persevere, with haÿahaÿa, humility, in all that we do.


Kamehameha Schools is a dynamic and nurturing learning community committed to educational excellence. We assist people of Hawaiian ancestry to achieve their highest potential as "good and industrious men and women." We do so by contributing to their development as people who are:

  • Grounded in spiritual and Christian values;
  • Intellectually, emotionally and socially self-reliant;
  • Resourceful, resilient, life-long learners;
  • Equipped with the skills they need to succeed in endeavors of their choosing;
  • Responsible, ethical, contributing members of their multi-cultural and diverse communities, and
  • Prepared to practice and perpetuate the Hawaiian values and traditions of Ke Aliÿi Pauahi.


Kamehameha Schools' mission is to fulfill Pauahi's desire to create educational opportunities in perpetuity to improve the capability and well-being of people of Hawaiian ancestry.

Guiding Principles

  • Kamehameha Schools will honor Pauahi’s sacred trust.  Ke AliÿI Pauahi established this intitution on the foundations of her Christian beliefs, cultural pride and love for her Hawaiian people.  The values of our Founder will guide our policies, programs, and behavior.
  • Kamehameha Schools will think inclusively as we serve people of Hawaiian ancestry.  Pauahi’s love and concern for the well-being of her people knew no bounds.  We will extend our geographic reach and serve a wider spectrum of educational needs.
  • Kamehameha Schools will develop and operate our educational programs and services as a system.  Our educational initiatives will address the multiple learning needs of students of all ages.  Programs and resources will be integrated and managed to achieve maximum benefits.
  • Kamehameha Schools will establish alliances to address the educational needs of people of Hawaiian ancestry.  We recognize that more can be achieved by working with others and will do so in a manner that respects and builds upon their unique and profound strengths.  We will partner with those who share our values and goals.
  • Kamehameha Schools will regard our `ohana as a precious resource.  We will treat each other with respect, nurture expertise and talents, and recognize the contributions of all.
  • Kamehameha Schools will stand accountable for our words and deeds.  All those touched by Pauahi’s legacy have special responsibilities.  We will maintain respectful, two-way communications at all levels.  Inclusive decision-making will be practiced.


Page Managed by:Dean Tomita
Last Modified: 2/3/2003

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